I can't promise you medals but we will come back holding our heads up: Sania Mirza

Tennis ace Sania Mirza on Friday said it was a great gesture on the part of the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh to honour the sportspersons going to represent India in Olympics and that this would motivate them to perform in London. "It is a very big honour to represent the country and especially to belong to Hyderabad. It is great to be honoured by the government before the Olympic Games. It will surely motivate all of us to do well. I am proud to be a Hyderabadi and though I can't promise you medals but we will give our 100 percent and come back holding our heads up.

Saina Nehwal, Jwala Gutta, P Kashyap, Ashwini Ponnappa, V Diju (all badminton),Sania Mirza (tennis), Manjeet Singh, Sandeep Kumar, Swarn Singh (rowing) were the sportspersons who were felicitated on the occasion. Coaches Pullela Gopichand (badminton) and Ismail Baig (Rowing), technical official MA Aziz (judo) and P Ravi Shanker (archery coach, who will submit a research paper at the Pre-Olympic Congress in Liverpool on July 24 and 25) too were honoured, says a report in The Times Of India.

Doubles badminton champion Jwala Gutta too praised the government. "I have always said that the government has been at the forefront of supporting sports and sportspersons in the state, which is known as the sports capital of the country. This function is another proof of the state's commitment to sports. We hope to do well and come back with medals."

Meanwhile according to a report in Deccan Herald, Sania Mirza refused to make predictions on how many medals country's tennis players will win at the upcoming London Olympic Games but promised that they will give their best shot. "I think it's unfair to put a number (on medals). As it is, all of us are under pressure going to the London Olympics. We can't promise a medal but will give our hundred per cent," said Sania, who would be taking part in the women's doubles with Rushmi Chakravarti and mixed doubles with Leander Paes in the Games, commencing July 27. Sania was one of the panel speakers at NDTV's "Marks for Sports" campaign along with fellow tennis stalwart Mahesh Bhupathi, Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken, former national football skipper Bhaichung Bhutia and cricket star Virender Sehwag.

Asked about India's chances in the Games, Maken said it is not appropriate for him to predict the country's medal haul in the quadrennial sports spectacle. "I would not like to say anything on this because it would be unfair as already we have qualified in large numbers. Last time around 50 people had qualified (for Beijing in 2008), and this time 81 have qualified," he observed.