Updated: July 27, 2021 9:57:50 pm
Slogans of “Long live Mirabai, long live Manipur!” rent the air as people lined up the streets to catch a glimpse of her. The crowd had swelled at Bir Tikendrajit International Airport in Imphal and also present among the hundreds of well-wishers and supporters, who waited for her arrival, was Chief Minister N Biren Singh.
Mirabai Chanu, who set India’s campaign at Tokyo off to a glorious start by winning a silver medal in weightlifting in the Olympics, returned to Manipur to a hero’s welcome on Tuesday.
Chanu landed at the airport in the afternoon, after which she was escorted to the city convention centre in Imphal where she was given a grand reception by the state government.
During the felicitation event, an award of Rs 1 crore and the appointment letter to the post of Additional Superintendent of Police (Sports) was handed over to her by the CM.
The state had earlier announced the decision to appoint Chanu as the ASP (sports) in the police department. Moreover, there will be cash awards for all the state athletes who win medals in the Olympics.
After the felicitation, Chanu headed to Nongpok Kakching led by a motorcade of well-wishers, local clubs, police. Nongpok Kakching lies on the eastern side of Imphal valley, about 20 km from the capital city.
Despite the ongoing curfew owing to Covid, hordes of people across all age groups lined up the streets to cheer Chanu all the way to her village. Many even tried to gift her with flowers and garlands but were stopped by cops due to the Covid curbs in place.
“I have no words to express how happy I am. The love and support extended to me is overwhelming. Right from the airport till here, your warm welcome has made this the greatest day of my life,” Chanu said while addressing a gathering at her village.
She thanked the people and Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had called her up to congratulate her after her medal win.
At Nongpok Kakching, the villagers also organised a grand reception for Chanu at a community hall. Gifts were presented to Chanu and the village elders delivered congratulatory speeches.
Sharing her experiences, Chanu said, “One of my driving forces for what I have achieved is my desire to put Manipur on the world map. It pains me when I see that many people don’t even know that a state like Manipur exists.”
She also said her main focus would be to start preparing for the next Olympics, though it is still three years away.
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