Mirabai Chanu is the toast of the town these days.
Thanks to her confident silver-medal win at the Olympics in weightlifting, the athlete is now back at home, enjoying her favourite pizzas and home cooked meals with her family.
Bringing home an Olympic medal is no mean feat, and Chanu fulfilled her dreams, and the dreams of India's weightlifting community 21 years after Karnam Malleshwari. "She had a very poor day in Rio de Janeiro, but she did not lose hope, did not let it stall her progress. She worked hard, improved her technique, and today won a silver medal for India. It's a great achievement that a weightlifter has won a medal for India, after a gap of 21 years," said Karnam Malleswari, the first Indian weightlifter to win an individual medal at the Olympics, in Sydney in 2000.
“I cannot explain in words how happy I’m feeling. I am feeling very proud, it’s our second medal in weightlifting. I want to thank the federation, my coach, family and all support system,” the 26-year-old Mirabai Chanu said in a chat with News18.
Since her return, Mirabai Chanu is being showered with well-deserved gifts, felicitations and promotions.
Here are some of the gifts the latest Olympic medal-winner has received.
INOX multiplex chain has announced that it will celebrate Mirabai’s historic win by giving her free tickets to watch as many movies as she wishes during her lifetime. And as an incentive for the remaining Indians in the fray for Olympic medals, Inox Leisure Limited has promised the same treat to any sportsperson returning home with a medal.
Not just that, Inox, which operates 648 multiplexes across the country, will give all those who qualified to represent the country at the Tokyo Olympics free movie tickets for a year.
When she returned to India, in an interview with NDTV, Chanu had said that the first thing she wanted to do was eat pizza. “First of all, I will go and have a pizza. It has been a long time since I ate it. I will eat a lot today.”
After her comment, Domino’s India made her wish come true. But not just that, Dominos has pledged to supply her with her free pizzas – for her entire lifetime.
Felicitation by Sports Ministry
Union Ministers Anurag Thakur, and Sarbanand Sonwal, and Kiren Rijiju felicitated her in a ceremony in New Delhi, upon her return to India.
Sports Minister Anurag Thakur hailed weightlifter Mirabai Chanu for creating history by winning a first day medal at the Tokyo Olympics, an unparalleled feat by an Indian athlete in the history of the games.
'First day, first medal, nobody did it. You brought smiles in the faces of 135 crore Indians and the entire nation is proud of you,' Thakur said during a felicitation ceremony of the diminutive weightlifter and her coach Vijay Sharma at his residence.
Felicitation by Railways
Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw also felicitated Mirabai Chanu and announced a reward of Rs 2 crore along with a promotion in her job in the Northeast Frontier Railway.
The Railways has also assured her of a promotion from her role as a ticket inspector.
Not only that, Mirabai Chanu's coach also received some goodies. Vijay Sharma was felicitated by Northern Railways on his arrival from Tokyo. Vijay, who was working as the Chief Office Superintendent in the Operational Department of Northern Railway, Head Office has now been promoted to the post of OSD.
Felicitation by Manipur government
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh announced a reward of Rs 1 crore for her and promised a job in the government.
According to a report in PTI, she will be the Additional Superintendent of Police (Sports), Mr Singh said.
From early in the morning, politicians and other well-wishers wait in long queues outside her home to give her money, bouquets and words of encouragement for her next Olympic games. Her win at the Olympics was a dream for the weightlifter, whose parents could hardly afford to give her ₹5 a day for her training.
A grateful Ms. Chanu on Thursday said, “Truck drivers transporting sand, stone and other construction material used to help me by giving me a lift to the training venue. The drivers would blow their horns from a distance away to inform me that they were nearby and that I should get ready.”
Here are some of the felicitations Mirabai Chanu has received to date.
Mirabai Chanu, on Saturday, made history when she won a silver medal in weightlifting at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics.
On Monday, she returned to India, 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.
The government of Manipur has also announced plans to establish a World Class Weightlifting Academy in the state soon.
(With inputs from ANI, Firstpost, PTI, News18, NDTV, The Hindu, Reuters)