MC Mary Kom broke into an impromptu jig with her fans as the star boxer along with wrestlers Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt were accorded a grand welcome after they returned following their historic exploits at the London Olympic Games.
Indian women's boxing champion and Olympic Bronze medal winner Mary Kom, wearing marigold garlands presented by well-wishers, gestures during a reception in New Delhi. Woman boxer Mary Kom was feted as India's latest sporting hero after the mother-of-two won a bronze medal at the London Olympics. AFP PHOTO/RAVEENDRAN
Hundreds of cheering fans thronged the Indira
Gandhi International Airport to welcome Mary Kom at the airport. She was accompanied by her husband Onler Kom and her mother Akham Kom. Mary had won a bronze in the flyweight division, becoming the first Indian woman boxer to clinch an Olympic medal.
Similar was the scene last night as hordes of fans gathered at IGI's terminal 3 to receive the wrestlers along with their family members. The fans, who came with garlands, bouquets and sweets, danced to deafening drum beats while they waited for the wrestlers to come out of the terminal.
Members of the Sports Authority of India were also there to receive the duo.
While Sushil won a silver medal in the 66 kg freestyle wrestling category, Yogeshwar clinched a bronze in the 60 kg category.
All hell broke loose when the fans first sighted the two wrestlers coming out. Police struggled to control the surging fans as they broke barriers to reach out to their heroes.
The fans carried both Sushil and Yogeshwar on their shoulders and welcomed them with a huge roar. Sushil was later ferried away in an open truck, while Yogeshwar left in a car.
Both the wrestlers waved at the crowd, acknowledging the tumultuous welcome. While Sushil did not speak to the waiting media, Yogeshwar said that he was "overwhelmed" by the reception.
Sushil recorded his name in the country's sports history annals by becoming the first ever sportsperson to win back-to-back individual Olympic medals, having won a bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Sports Authority of India and the Sports Ministry have planned a felicitation for all the medal winners and other members of the Indian contingent at the national stadium here on August 16, SAI officials said.