New Delhi: “Aa rahi hoon main, apne des apne ghar! (I am coming back, to my country, to my home),” the girl who had lifted the collective gloom of a nation after 12 barren days at the Rio Olympic Games, had tweeted before boarding her flight back home.
On Wednesday morning, bronze medal winning wrestler Sakshi Malik was accorded a grand welcome amid loud cheers from fans and officials, who gathered in large numbers at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here.
Sakshi waved to the cheering crowds and thanked everyone for the support.
“I want to thank each and everyone for such a warm welcome. I am happy to see so many people cheering for me. I also want to thank all those who prayed for me, which helped me win the medal for my country,” the 23-year-old wrestler said.
“It was my dream to win an Olympic medal and I worked really hard for that. Now that I have won it, it seems as if I am living my dream.” The youngster was elated to see her family. “As I hugged my father and showed him my medal, tears rolled down his cheeks. My family members got very emotional,” she said.
Sakshi, who will be conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award along with three others on August 29, was named India’s flag-bearer at the Rio closing ceremony and the diminutive wrestler said it was a proud moment. Later in the day, she travelled to Bahadurgarh in Jhajjar district, where Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar along with other officials, welcomed her.