New Delhi:Late it might be, but four-time world champion M C Mary Kom says the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award has motivated her to aim for India's first boxing gold medal at the Olympics if women's boxing is included in the 2012 London Games.
"I can't describe in words how happy I am at finally getting this award which had been a long-cherished dream. Yes, it has come a bit late but I am glad to have got it," Mary Kom, the first boxer to get the country's highest sporting honour, said in an interview.
"I have become a mother of two and as I juggle the twin jobs of caring for my family and boxing, this award has given me fresh motivation.
"If women's boxing is included in the 2012 London Olympic Games then I would aim to get a gold medal there," the 25-year-old, who has won an astonishing four successive gold medals at the World Championships, said.
She was ignored for last year's Khel Ratna, which went to Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The Manipuri said she was also happy for Vijender Singh and Sushil Kumar, who have been given the award on special consideration for their Olympic performance.
Vijender (75kg) is the country's first Olympic medallist in boxing, while Sushil is only the second wrestler from the country to get a medal at the world's biggest sporting extravaganza.
"Vijender and Sushil's achievements are huge and initially I thought, they were going to get the award jointly this year. I am glad all three of us have got the award," Mary Kom said.
"That boxing has got two Khel Ratnas is also a cause for celebration for me," she added.
Dubbed 'Magnificent Mary' by the International Boxing Association for her domination in the sport, Mary Kom has become the face of the governing body's campaign for inclusion of women's boxing in London Olympics.
Mary Kom said she was doing all she could to promote the campaign.
"I am very optimistic about women's boxing's chances of being made an Olympic sport.
The AIBA has made its presentations and now we are keeping our fingers crossed on getting a positive response from the International Olympic Committee," she said.
"It's my dream to be at the Olympics and I think it would be realised at the London Games."
Her time away from the ring is taken up by her twin son and Mary Kom said caring for them is a job tougher than exchanging blows.
"My twin sons always keep me on my toes. They are always upto some mischief or the other. I think it's easier being a boxer than a mother," Mary Kom laughed.
Apart from this, she has also been kept busy by her training academy in Manipur.
"I want to give back to the sport which has given me so much and I think the best way of doing it is to groom youngsters. My academy is going well and a few of my trainees are promising," she said.