Hyderabad: Olympic silver medalist PV Sindhu arrived at Gachibowli stadium in Hyderabad on Monday where the Telangana state government organised a grand felicitation for her.
Sindhu reached the venue riding in an open-top bus amid scenes of jubilation and loud cheers from scores of people on the streets. Sindhu, accompanied by coach Pullela Gopichand, was greeted by her parents -- PV Ramana and P Vijaya -- besides Telangana Deputy Chief Minister Mohd Mahmood Ali, and some ministers from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on her arrival at Hyderabad airport.
School children held banners hailing the badminton star, who enthralled the country with her superb run at Rio. They raised slogans such as 'PV Sindhu Pride of India', and many of them also showered flower petals on the motorcade.
A celebratory mood prevailed at the stadium, where an enthusiastic crowd, mostly school and college students, welcomed her amid beating of drums by traditional 'Dappu' dance artistes.
"I never expected such a huge turn-out; it made my day," said a smiling Sindhu, overwhelmed by the huge reception.
"Thanks for the support and blessings. I thank my Guru (P Gopichand)...my parents, who supported and motivated me. I would like to thank everyone," she said at the felicitation event, attended by her parents, Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, Telangana Deputy Chief Minister Mohd Mahmood Ali and IT Minister K T Rama Rao, among others.
Later, addressing a press conference at Gopichand Badminton Academy, Sindhu said that she was really happy that her dream had come true.
Asked as to what makes him proudest about Sindhu, coach Pullela Gopichand said it was the fact that she performed on the big stage, when it really mattered.
"When you give in your best and push hard, there is enough reason to be proud about," he added.
On chances of Indian shuttlers winning a gold medal at the 2020 Olympics, Gopichand was hopeful, stating that 'we have motivated a group of gems who will push each other positively'.
Meanwhile, Dipa Karmakar, who came 4th in the women's vault finals narrowly missing out on a bronze medal, also received a grand welcome in Agartala, travelling in an open jeep while swarms of fans waved at her on the streets.
A school holiday was announced to welcome Dipa Karmakar back to her home state. Karmakar has already been recommended for the Khel Ratna award.
WATCH: Rio silver-medalist PV Sindhu on her way to Gachibowli stadium (Hyderabad) for the felicitation ceremony.https://t.co/4UEMk4vEUU— ANI (@ANI_news) August 22, 2016
While congratulating Sindhu for her feat, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, after chairing a Cabinet meeting on Saturday said, "a grand welcome would be organised on her arrival in the city on August 22".
Telangana Deputy CM Mohammad Mahmood Ali said that the state was 'planning to give Sindhu proper coaching' so that she could win the gold medal next time.
Telangana government had announced Rs 5 crore cash reward to Sindhu, a 1,000 square yard housing site near the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Gachibowli and suitable government job, if she is willing.
Hyderabad Collector Rahul Bojja, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) Commissioner B Janardhan Reddy along with heads of various departments on Sunday reviewed the welcome arrangements and also inspected the routes from where the motorcade would pass.
Telangana government had also announced cash prize of Rs 1 crore to Sindhu's coach P Gopichand.
On August 19, the 21-year-old from Hyderabad lost to world No 1 Carolina Marin of Spain 21-19, 12-21, 15-21 in a pulsating final that lasted for an hour and 23 minutes.
Sindhu, the two-time World championship bronze medallist, became the first Indian woman player to clinch a silver in the Olympics and fifth woman player from India to win a medal in the quadrennial games....