Manipur all set to roll out the red carpet for Mirabai Chanu

By FrontierManipur | Published On 26th Jul, 2021, 11:00 GMT+0530

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Mirabai Chanu being given a hero's welcome upon arrival in India

On Monday, Mirabai Chanu landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport to a grand welcome, surrounded by security forces.

TFM Desk

Manipur is all set to accord a hero welcome to Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, amidst the ongoing total curfew. Mirabai will land in Imphal on Tuesday.

The ace weightlifter clinched the silver medal in the women’s 49 kg weightlifting category at the Tokyo Olympics, becoming the first Indian to achieve the feat in weightlifting.

The Government of Manipur has organised a reception ceremony at City Convention Centre, Imphal from 2:00 pm onwards on Tuesday. A cash incentive of Rs 1 crore will also be presented at the function.

However, the pomp and gaiety whenever a sport-star comes home after a triumph will be missing due to the ongoing curfew in the state induced by COVID-19 pandemic. The state has a culture of cheering a champion when the athlete passes through the streets.

Meanwhile, the home of Mirabai Chanu at Nongpok Kakching, Imphal East has been lit up with decorative lights by the officials of Manipur State Power Distribution Company Limited on Monday in anticipation of her arrival.

On Monday, Mirabai Chanu landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport to a grand welcome, surrounded by security forces. The 26-year-old, with a face shield and mask on her face, was felicitated by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) officials.

“Happy to be back here in amidst so much love and support. Thank you so much [emoticon: India flag],” Mirabai tweeted after landing.

Later, Mirabai Chanu and her coach Vijay Sharma were given a hero’s welcome and was felicitated by union sports minister Anurag Singh Thakur at his residence in Delhi.

Union minister for law and justice Kiren Rijiju and union minister for tourism, culture and development of North-Eastern region Kishan Reddy, union minister of ports, shipping and waterways & minister for AYUSH, Sarbananda Sonowal and minister of state for youth affairs and sports, Nisith Pramanik were also present, according to PIB.

An overjoyed Chanu said, “This is a dream come true for me. I have been training for this moment for years and I am glad that it all came right for me at the biggest stage of them all, the Olympic Games.”

Chanu also thanked the government for extending timely support over the years and particularly the two trips to the USA, last year and the most recent one. “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)’ has boosted my career and medal prospects.”

Anurag Singh Thakur congratulated Chanu saying, “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. The Modi government will continue to nurture sporting talent and provide them with every facility to achieve excellence at the highest level. Her performance has caught the imagination of the entire nation. She will inspire a generation of athletes, even more from the north east.”

Kiren Rijiju said before leaving for Tokyo when we spoke, she had promised that she will bring a medal for the country, and true to her words, she has delivered on her promise. Like every Indian, I am elated and proud of this prestigious achievement. The glory and honour that she has brought to India is the result of years of perseverance, dedication and extreme hard work, and she deserves every bit of the adulation she is being showered on her.

Union Minister Shri Sarbananda Sonowal congratulated Mirabai on her achievement and said that you have inspired the nation and we all are proud of you.

The Manipuri weightlifter lifted a total of 202kg (87kg in snatch and 115kg in clean and jerk) in the 49 kg category, finishing behind China’s Hou Zhihui on Saturday.

With a superlative performance in Tokyo, Mirabai laid to rest the horrors of 2016 Rio Olympics, where she failed in two out of three lifts in snatch and was unable to register a valid lift in clean and jerk.

Mirabai was gold-medallist in the 2017 World Championships and 2018 Commonwealth Games in the 48 kg category. In the run-up to the Tokyo games, Mirabai flew out to the USA on May 1 for a stint with renowned strength and conditioning coach Dr Aaron Horschig. The government had swiftly arranged for Chanu to fly out at short notice with a travel ban to the USA for people coming from India set to be imposed within a few days due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.

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