Imphal : Olympic silver medalist Saikhom Mirabai Chanu was accorded a hero’s welcome in Manipur as she landed at the Imphal international airport on Tuesday.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh, ministers, MLAs, father of Mirabai, Saikhom Kriti, mother Saikhom Ongbi Tombi and large numbers of people waited eagerly for the arrival of Saikhom Mirabai.
As she came out of the airport inspite of curfew due to Covid pandemic large numbers of people came out to have a glimpse of Mirabai. The chief minister himself escorted Mirabai to his vehicle and came out of the airport. Mirabai had to climb down from the vehicle and sit in front of the vehicle to wave to the people who were standing on the streets. It was a spectacular view from the airport to the City convention centre where a reception function was organized. People lined up on the entire stretch shouting slogans, playing drums. Flowers were showered on her as she waved to the people waiting for her. Crackers were fired by the standers.
Chief Minister N Biren handed over Rs 1 cr for winning silver, another Rs 10 lakhs for creating a world record in clean and jerk and appointment order for Addl SP, Sports, Manipur Police. Mirabai who was overwhelmed by the reception tried hard to hold back her tears as she thanked her parents for showing the beautiful world and supporting her.
She extended her gratitude to her first coaches the legendary weight lifter N Anita Chanu and Sanasam Brojen who guided her from the very beginning at the tender age of 12. She expressed gratitude to the Manipur Olympic Association for helping her in every step .
Mirabai said it was due to the love and affection, trust on her that she was able to win the silver medal. She dedicated the medal to all the people . Mirabai said after her debacle in the Rio Olympics she received lots of bad comments. In Rio she could not cope the pressure she said. As a mission she decided to dedicate the entire next five years in practice sacrificing all other activities. She was focussed entirely on training and she had to overcome back, hand injuries due to heavy lifting. The treatment and training in the US prior to the Olympics helped her and she expressed gratitude to the PM, Sports Minister for enabling her practice in the US.
It was just like a dream to get a direct call from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister N Biren, she added. N Biren also took her to her new office complex at Imphal and assured a grand function after the end of the pandemic for all the Olympians.
He said he is waiting for a good news from Mary Kom and stated that the nation is praying for a gold medal from her. Biren said to help the new talents the affiliated sports bodies of Manipur Olympic Association will be provided grant of few lakhs every year. The treatment and practice Mirabai had at the US were important and if the National Sports university in Manipur become a reality we need not go to other countries for training.
Letpao Haokip, Sports Minister said Mirabai has proven her mettle and we will have many more sportspersons as there are lots of talents in the country and the state. Th Radheshyam, President Manipur Olympic Association said it was a proud movement for the entire nation and urged Mirabai to continue her hard work to win a gold medal in the next Olympics as she is still young. Considering the pandemic Mirabai was asked not to interact freely with the people and restrict visitors by the Chief Minister.