Tokyo Bronze Medallist PV Sindhu Arrives Home to a Roaring Welcome
PV Sindhu arrived in India after her impressive display at the Tokyo Olympics.
People lined up outside the arrival lounge at the Indira Gandhi International Airport and cheered and clapped as PV Sindhu, the first Indian woman to win medals in successive Olympic Games, walked out on Tuesday.
It felt like the badminton champion was being given a spontaneous guard of honour by the public, which was left mesmerised by her performance in Tokyo.
The cheering and clapping by airport staff, fellow passengers and bystanders continued till she walked into a waiting car and disappeared. Autograph-seekers pushed and jostled as they tried to get a glimpse of India's biggest badminton star.
Sindhu returned to a grand welcome from badminton enthusiasts on Tuesday afternoon from Tokyo where she had beaten world No. 9 He Bingjiao of China in straight games on Sunday to claim the bronze medal, adding to the silver she had won five years ago in Rio de Janeiro.
She is the only Indian woman to win medals in successive Olympics and is likely to remain so at least for the next three years.
While she was accorded a warm welcome by her parents, PV Ramana and Vijaya, and Badminton Association of India (BAI) officials including its general secretary Ajay Singhania in the airport lounge, outside a large number of people waited with dhols to welcome the best woman shuttler the country has produced.
"I am very happy and excited of course. The PM called and congratulated me and of course Ajay Singhania is here and everybody from BAI came. Very thankful to everyone for supporting me and encouraging me," she told a waiting group of officials and journalists.
"It is not a tough day, it's an exciting day, it's a happy moment so it's never a tough day," she added.
She was whisked away by the BAI and Sports Ministry officials as she had programmes lined up for the entire evening.
"PV Sindhu is among India's greatest Olympians. She is India's icon, inspiration and has caught the imagination of every Indian who dreams of playing for the country. Her incredible achievement -- that of winning two Olympic medals in two consecutive Olympic Games will inspire a generation of budding athletes," said Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur on the occasion of Sindhu's felicitation.
"Her success shows how the Target Olympic Podium scheme of the government has nurtured our Olympic hopefuls towards a podium finish. Just before setting off for Tokyo Olympics, she had an interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and right after her victory he was the first person to call her and congratulate her. The nation of 130 crore Indians is thrilled by her smashing performance!"
A visibly elated Sindhu said she was disappointed that she could not make it to the final but was happy with winning a medal in the second successive Olympic Games.
"I would like to thank each one of my fans because of the support and though we played without fans in the stadium, I am sure billions have supported me from India and this success is the result of their wishes. I would like to thank my parents, for their constant support and sacrifices, and my coach for working with me and making this dream come true," she said.
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