Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu returned to the country on Monday after her superb silver medal-winning performance at the Tokyo Olympics, walking into sheer chaos after stepping out of the airport where social distancing went for a toss. Chanu walked out of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, flanked by security and clad in a face shield and mask.
The girl from Manipur lifted a total of 202kg (87kg+115kg) in the 49kg category to better Karnam Malleswari's bronze in the 2000 Sydney Olympics on Saturday.
Mirabai Returns: ‘Happy to Be Back Amidst so Much Love & Support'
With that performance, she exorcised the ghosts of the 2016 Games where she had failed to log a single legitimate lift, leaving her shattered.
Chanu has also been a former world champion and a Commonwealth Games gold-medallist.
She was training in the USA before the Games and lived up to the medal expectations from her with a confident performance.
The Manipuri's focus for the past five years also kept her away from her family and she said he spent just five days with them during this period.
Minister for Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw on Monday felicitated weightlifter Mirabai Chanu who won a silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics and announced a reward of Rs 2 crore and promotion in her job in the Northeast Frontier Railway.
The minister said she has inspired billions around the world with her talent, handwork and grit.
Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Monday hailed weightlifter Mirabai Chanu for creating history by winning the first-day medal at the Tokyo Olympics, an unparalleled feat by an Indian athlete in the history of the games.
He added that Chanu's success will inspire a generation of athletes, especially from the north-eastern region of the country.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Monday announced that weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, who won Silver at the Tokyo Olympics, will be appointed as the Additional Superintendent of Police in the state police department.
The state government would also reward her with Rs 1 crore, the chief minister said.
The Olympian who won the silver medal in the 49 kg category will hold the designation of Additional Superintendent of Police (Sports), Singh said.
The Manipur government has also decided to establish a world-class weightlifting academy in the state soon, he added.
Training tirelessly, staying away from family and maintaining a strict diet for five years finally culminated in the moment Mirabai Chanu had been desperately waiting for — standing atop the Olympic podium but it almost didn't happen.
The postponement of the Tokyo Games and a break in training due to the COVID-19 lockdown last year brought with it a shoulder issue for the weightlifter that could have led to a completely different result, something Chanu had been worried about.
WITH INPUTS FROM PTI