In what is perhaps the most heart-warming moment following weightlifter Mirabai Chanu's Silver win at Tokyo Olympics was the scene at her home in Manipur's Nongpok Kakching, 30 km from Imphal city. Ms Chanu clinched India's first medal at the ongoing Olympics on Saturday.
Her 26-year-old's family, neighbours and friends, who were gathered at her home and watching the weightlifting event, burst into celebrations the moment she lifted a total of 202 kg (87kg+115kg).
Women, men and children sat on the floor of a small room, glued to a television set with the weightlifting event on. While many were seen praying with their hands folded and eyes closed, some watched the screen with bated breath.
The moment - first reaction of family;neighbours & friends as @mirabai_chanu wins silver @Tokyo2020 - first medal for India come through a NE girl #Sunzubachaspatimayum reports for Manipur for @ndtvpic.twitter.com/0ggRfPkKMX— Ratnadip Choudhury (@RatnadipC) July 24, 2021
"Tonight, we are going to have fish. We are mostly vegetarian, but tonight will be an execption. She opens the account for India. It's exciting. We wanted her to get gold but this silver is like a gold for us. We are very happy and proud for her and we hope the country is proud of her," her mother Saikhom Tombi Devi said. Her father Saikhom Kriti expressed the same sentiments.
Mirabai Chanu's village is in a Covid-hit area and thus, the family did not allow too many people to enter the home, restricting the crowd to close relatives and immediate neighbours.
"It's really a dream come true for me," Ms Chanu said in a statement, thanking India and Indians. "I like to thank my family, especially my mother for a lot of sacrifices and believing in me."
Ms Chanu ended India's 21-year wait for a weightlifting medal at the Olympics by clinching the silver medal in the 49 kg category to open the country's account in Tokyo.
#WATCH | Manipur: Family and neighbours of weightlifter Mirabai Chanu burst into celebrations as they watch her win the #Silver medal for India in Women's 49kg category. #OlympicGamespic.twitter.com/F2CjdwpPDc— ANI (@ANI) July 24, 2021
"We are very happy today. This is a result of her hard work. India and Manipur are proud of her," a relative told news agency ANI.
Ms Chanu's Olympics milestone sent Twitter into a frenzy with thousands of people congratulating her.
President Ramnath Kovid and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were among the first to tweet congratulatory messages. "Heartiest congratulations to Mirabai Chanu for starting the medal tally for India in the Tokyo Olympics 2020 by winning silver medal in weightlifting," President Kovind tweeted.
"Could not have asked for a happier start to Tokyo2020! India is elated by Mirabai Chanu''s stupendous performance. Congratulations to her for winning the Silver medal in weightlifting. Her success motivates every Indian," PM Modi tweeted with the hashtag ''Cheer4India''.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI)