Olympic silver-medallist Mirabai returns to warm welcome
New Delhi: 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.
“Happy to be back here amidst so much love and support. Thank You so much,” she stated after landing.
Inside the airport, the 26-year-old was greeted with chants of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ by the staff present there and felicitated by officials of the Sports Authority of India among others. Once out, the young star was mobbed by the waiting media, leading to a melee and had to be completely enveloped by security personnel as she made her way through.
The diminutive Manipuri lifted a total of 202kg (87kg+115kg) in the 49kg category to better Karnam Malleswari’s bronze in the 2000 Sydney Olympics on Saturday. 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 US 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 she spent just five days with them during this period.