'In my early days, I would struggle to buy even a pair of gloves': Mary Kom

Six-time world champion boxer MC Mary Kom on Wednesday said that Indian sports have come a long way with many athletes getting the financial backing of sponsors these days.

"In my early days I would struggle to buy even a pair of gloves. It is heartening to see Indian sports have come a long way," said Mary Kom while sending off the athletes on a maiden SpiceJet flight for Khelo India Games beginning in Guwahati on Friday.

"It's really great and encouraging to see an amazing flying experience is being provided to these budding stars," said the 2012 Olympics bronze medallist.

In a bid to make Khelo India a world-class sporting experience for the budding athletes, Sports Authority of India (SAI) has come together with SpiceJet to help more than 1000 kids experience the joy of flying.

"Khelo India has been incredible at unearthing young talents who can be groomed to bring laurels for the country and its mission has been to introduce state-of-the-art facilities to athletes from the grassroots level. I hope this unique partnership will further strengthen our commitment towards giving the best possible facilities to our athletes," Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said.

Sports Secretary Radheshyam Jhulaniya, SAI Director General Sandip Pradhan and SpiceJet Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh were also present on the occasion.