Imphal: Government of Manipur and people of the state on Tuesday accorded hero’s welcome to Tokyo Olympics Silver medalist Saikhom Mirabai Chanu.
On Mirabai’s arrival at Bir Tikendrajit International Airport, Imphal in the afternoon, chief minister N. Biren Singh along with ministers, MLAs and a large number of people received her.
State youth affairs and sports department organised a colourful reception function in her honour in presence of the chief minister, YAS minister Letpao Haokip and deputy chief minister Y. Joykumar Singh and Manipur Olympic Association president and MLA Th. Radheshyam at the City Convention Centre, here.
As announced earlier, the chief minister presented her a cheque of Rs 1 crore and the appointment order for the post of additional superintendent of police (sports) to the ace weightlifter as rewards to her outstanding achievement.
Biren also handed over an added reward of Rs 10 lakh for setting the world record in clean and jerk in 49 kg category at the 30th Asian Weightlifting Championships held in April this year at Tashkent (Uzbekistan).
Education minister S. Rajen Singh also rewarded her Rs 3 lakh for bringing laurels to the country and the state.
Biren said Mirabai Chanu’s triumph bears witness to the value of hard work and sincerity. Expressing hope that Mirabai would continue working hard to achieve more success in future games as well, the chief minister observed that her Silver medal at Tokyo Olympics should be the stepping stone of more other milestones. He also asked her to work harder till she secures Olympic Gold Medal.
Stating that turnout of well-wishers could be more massive and the celebration could be more grandeur had there been not curfew due to Covid-19 pandemic, Biren said another grand reception in honour of all the five athletes of Tokyo Olympics of the state would be organized by the Government when Covid-19 pandemic subsides.
Maintaining that the state has a sports policy to provide the much needed support to talented sports persons, Biren expressed hope that the state would be able to produce more successful players once the National Sports University starts functioning in full swing.
The chief minister also announced that the state government would begin a scheme to provide annual financial grants to the associations of the Olympic sports disciplines. He added that a weightlifting academy with all necessary amenities would be set up in the state very soon so as to groom many future Olympians.
Letpao said Mirabai’s success has once again testified to the world that Manipuris have the potential to stand tall in the world’s biggest sports event against toughest opponents. It is also an answer to all those who are against the idea of women empowerment, he added.
Games and sports is embedded in Manipuri culture and the state is home to several traditional games, and there is no argument that Manipur is the sports capital of the country as stated by President of India Ramnath Kovind, Letpao said. He also mentioned different sports infrastructures constructed by the present government.
Radheshyam said Mirabai brought laurels to the whole nation by dint of her hard work and determination. Stating that there is no dearth of talents in Manipur, Radheshyam observed that the state should focus on the sports disciplines, which are more suitable to the physique of the state natives.
Mirabai said she could win the medal because of the support of her parents, family members, friends and blessings of her mentors and coaches. It was because of the prayers of the people of the country and the state that she could stand on the Olympic podium, she said and added that she would like to dedicate the medal to the people of Manipur.
Stating that her happiness knew no bounds when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister called her, the champion weightlifter said it was like a dream talking to them after she won the medal. She said she worked so hard after the Rio Olympics to achieve the feat.
Biren along with the ministers and MLAs took Mirabai to her office located near 2nd MR complex, Ragailong, and ushered to her seat of additional superintendent of police (sports).