Several political leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, showered praise on Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, who won India’s first medal at Tokyo Olympics on Saturday.
Chanu won a silver medal in women’s 49kg weightlifting. The 26-year-old lifted a total of 202 kg to finish second. China’s Hou Zhihoi won the gold medal with an Olympic record of 210 kg.
Hailing her achievement, Modi said that India is elated by her stupendous performance. “Could not have asked for a happier start to Tokyo2020,” the prime minister said. “Her success motivates every Indian.”
Gandhi also congratulated Chanu, ranked third in the world, for winning the silver medal. “Congratulations to Mirabai Chanu for our country’s first medal on the very first day. India is proud of her daughter,” he said.
Chanu is only the second Indian to win an Olympic medal in weightlifting after Karnam Malleswari’s historic bronze in 2000 and the fifth Indian to win a silver medal in the Olympics.
Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur congratulated her on behalf of the prime minister and the country, ANI reported. “First day, first medal, a silver medal. You made the country proud,” Thakur said.
He added: “We’re so grateful to you...You inspire the entire India, our Indian contingent in the Tokyo Olympics and I’m sure the way you started on day one, the other athletes are going to follow this and they are also going to make India proud.”
Former Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju also said Chanu had made India proud with the silver medal.
Several other prominent political leaders also congratulated her achievement on Twitter.