On Monday evening, when India’s first medalist in Tokyo Olympics Saikhom Mirabai Chanu and her coach Vijay Sharma returned to India, they were accorded an unprecedented welcome. Chanu was felicitated by the Union Sports Minister Anurag Singh Thakur and the occasion was graced by the Union Minister for Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju; DoNER minister G Kishan Reddy; Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal and MoS for Youth Affairs and Sports Nisith Pramanik.
Excited about the win, Chanu said, “It’s like a dream come true for me. I’ve been training for this moment for many years and I’m glad it all happened for me at the biggest sporting event, the Olympics.”
She expressed gratitude to the government for the cooperation received for two visits, last year and the recent one to the United States. She said, “The trip to the USA last year to address issues related to my shoulder was instrumental in my journey to this medal. I am grateful for all the support extended by the government towards me, without which this journey to an Olympic medal would not have been possible. I would also like to say that the ‘Target Olympic Podium Scheme’ (TOPS) had boosted my career and medal prospects.”
Congratulating Chanu, Anurag Singh Thakur said, “Mirabai Chanu’s victory is the victory of 130 crore Indians, who were filled with pride when India’s flag was unfurled and national anthem played at the medal ceremony in Tokyo. It’s the first time in Olympic history that an Indian has won a medal on the opening day. Her success also shows how the TOPS program has played a crucial role in boosting the development of our athletes and India’s medal hopes.”
Union Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju said that when he spoke with her before she was leaving for Tokyo, she had promised that she would bring medals for the country.
Union Minister Kishan Reddy said, “I would like to take this opportunity to register my enthusiasm for sports and fitness activities in the northeastern states and I am glad that this active sports culture is making India proud.”
Also, Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal congratulated Mirabai on her achievement and said that you have inspired our entire nation and we all are proud of you. Pramanik also praised the winning lifter and said, “This medal is the result of years of hard work and preparation. It was a matter of pride for 135 crore Indians as they saw you execute your lifts on the big stage and win a medal.”
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