It was an emotional homecoming for newly-crowned Olympic silver-medallist Mirabai Chanu, who broke down on meeting her mother here on Tuesday before being felicitated by Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh at the airport. Much like the reception at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Monday, Chanu was met with media frenzy at the Bir Tikendrajit International Airport here.
Emotional homecoming for Mirabai Chanu in Manipur. ❤️pic.twitter.com/UZpIIsO8k8— The Bridge (@the_bridge_in) July 27, 2021
After the 2016 Rio Games, a stringent training regimen had limited Chanu's visits to her home for the past five years. Chanu, who won the silver medal in the women's 49kg category on Saturday, was seen hugging her mother Saikhom Ongbi Tombi Leima and her father Saikhom Kriti Meitei with tears rolling down her face as security guards formed a ring around her.
The now-famous gold earrings, shaped like the Olympic rings, that Chanu sported at the Games were a gift from her mother who sold her own jewellery for them five years ago ahead of the Rio Games in the hope of bringing the weightlifter luck.
The 26-year-old hails from Nongpok Kakching village, which is around 25km from here. Chanu went to attend a Manipur state government felicitation from the airport, which was hosted by the chief minister. The 26-year-old lifted a total of 202kg (87kg+115kg) to better Karnam Malleswari's bronze in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The diminutive weightlifter has six siblings, three sisters and two brothers.