“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 here.
Chanu, who returned to the country on Monday evening, lifted a total of 202kg (87kg+115kg) in the 49kg category to better Karnam Malleswari’s bronze in the 2000 Sydney Olympics on Saturday.
(Photo credit: SAI)
With that performance, she exorcised the ghosts of the 2016 Games where she had failed to log a single legitimate lift, leaving her shattered.
“You made history. It’s a big achievement,” Thakur added.
The late night felicitation function was also attended by Minister of Sports (Sports) Nisith Pramanik, Thakur’s predecessors and current central ministers in the Modi government Kiren Rijiju and Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Development of North-Eastern Region G Kishan Reddy among others.
“Her (Chanu’s) success also shows how the TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) program has played a crucial role in boosting the development of our athletes and India’s medal hopes,” the sports minister said.
He added that Chanu’s success will inspire a generation of athletes, especially from the north-eastern region of the country.
Chanu dedicated her medal to the entire nation, had it not been for the support of the government her dream would have remained unfulfilled.
“This is a dream come true for me. I have been training for this moment for years and I am glad that it came right for me at the biggest stage of them all, the Olympic Games,” she said.
“I dedicate the medal to the entire nation who stood by me and supported me in my trying times.”
“The trip to USA last year to address issues related to my shoulder was instrumental in my journey to this medal. I am grateful to the Government of India for all the support without which this journey to an Olympic medal wouldn’t have been possible,” she added.