Updated: August 7, 2021 9:43:19 am
Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu won India’s first medal at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics. However, her journey to the podium receiving the silver medal wasn’t an easy one. Now, keeping her promise, she felicitated those who helped her — the truck drivers.
Yes, the young athlete from Manipur had to take numerous lifts from truck drivers for her daily commute from her home in a tiny village to her training academy in Imphal, some 30 km away. So, to express her gratitude she hosted an event for them and honoured them for their contribution in her achievement.
Chanu couldn’t afford private transportation to the academy everyday. So, she relied on those sand-carrying truckers who travelled on the same route.
According to East Mojo, the 26-year-old silver medallist treated 150 truck drivers and their helpers to a nice lunch and gifted them all a shirt and a Manipuri scarf. Photos of the sweet interaction have since gone viral online.
Extraordinary gestures by @mirabai_chanu #MirabaiChanu as she conveys her gratitude to these wonderful #TruckDrivers!
In her difficult days, these sand carrying truck drivers used to give free transportation to Mira so that she could have training at 25 km away #spirts facility. pic.twitter.com/TRtASr8Pqx
— Sonmoni Borah IAS (@sonmonib5) August 6, 2021
“The training centre used to be 20-30 kms away from our home. Our parents would give her 10-20 rupees for her journey,” her brother Saikhom Sanatomba Meitei told Olympics.com after her win.
Reminiscing her efforts in the old days, Meitei, who is four years elder added: “Early morning, trucks used to leave from the market square. We would know which of them is going towards her training centre and would send her with them. She never complained about it.”
Watch her interaction with the truck drivers here:
Chanu won silver in the women’s 49kg weightlifting category after lifting a total of 202 kg, ending a wait of 21 years to secure a win at the coveted event. She is only the second weightlifter from India after Karnam Malleswari, who had won bronze in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
The thoughtful gesture by the Olympians earned plaudits online, with many commending her for ‘not forgetting’ those who helped her reach the top. Chanu’s humility is winning hearts on the internet.
— Adil hussain (@_AdilHussain) August 5, 2021
This is surreal. More power to this woman. She’s so likable. https://t.co/yvj97W0auU
— GOATdal_fan (@billburrrito) August 6, 2021
— Maneeza Ahuja (@ManeezaPredicts) August 6, 2021
OMG! these are the things that stand out! Champion on and off the field . She won silver but actually, she is gold https://t.co/vOOD6AveST
— Nandan (@Nandan_400) August 6, 2021
This is what it means not forgetting the people who helped you reach to the heights https://t.co/qkZcQrK6bj
— ♏ (@tbothernot) August 6, 2021
She not only won the medal and made India proud but she also won the heart of millions by her wonderful gesture of rewarding back to those who helped and contributed in her life what she has achieved. Great heart and wonderful gesture. May God bless you. https://t.co/DkJpfQFtEA
— Dr. Subhro S Sircar (@drsssircar61) August 6, 2021
I teared up a little reading this https://t.co/nphhqyYcrO
— Moon (@moonsez) August 6, 2021
This is heroic.
— Sudev Barar (@sbarar) August 6, 2021
— अद्वैता काला Advaita Kala 😷 (@AdvaitaKala) August 5, 2021
Wow….what a work of incredible gratitude….heart of gold https://t.co/9QSK1vf0N3
— Abhay (@Abhay_0911) August 5, 2021
More than the medals, stories like these are what really inspires you!! https://t.co/mNNxIT6BFA
Yes I agree they are a big part in moving our economy & getting us food at our doorstep but nobody gives weitage to their efforts only so called anadata being given credit
— Saffrony Yours (@SaffronHead) August 5, 2021
Gratitude is beautiful. Especially when you’re flying high. When you have nothing and need their help it doesn’t shine as bright.
— Sangita (@Sanginamby) August 5, 2021
Such gut wrenching stories of hard work, feeling, we lose the right to complain of any shortcomings in comparison.
May the force be with you Mirabai and all the athletes .
Salute you all.👍
— S 🏹🚜 (@Sunaa_5V) August 5, 2021