Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik received a rousing welcome in Haryana on Wednesday amid large-scale celebrations at her native village Mokhra in Rohtak. The 23-year-old wrestler landed in Delhi at 3:50 am on Wednesday morning, where she was received by Haryana ministers Vipul Goel and Rao Narbir Singh.
Declared as the state guest by the Haryana government, Sakshi was welcomed by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, finance minister Captain Abhimanyu and agriculture minister OP Dhankar on Delhi-Haryana border in Bahadurgarh. A special felicitation ceremony for the wrestler was organised at the HUDA community centre, where Khattar presented her with the promised Rs 2.5 crore cheque, and declared her as the brand ambassador of widely-publicised Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme.
The chief minister also announced `10 lakh reward each to two of Sakshi’s wrestling coaches-Mandeep and Kuldeep, promotion for Sakshi’s mother, Sudesh Malik, to CDPO from supervisor in the anganwadi department, and offered Sakshi an unconditional Class 2 job. Besides several other benefits, the CM also announced to set up a sports nursery at Sakshi’s native village Mokhra.
From Bahadurgarh, Sakshi was carried in an open jeep to her maternal village Ismaila, where she was felicitated in the local school.
Talking to HT, Sakshi said, “I’m feeling over-whelmed with all the love I’m getting. I just hope I keep getting this love in future as well, and I’ll try to do much better. I have lots of memories about this village (Ismaila) and coming back to such a warm welcome is like a dream.”
Happy little children raised slogans such as: ‘Sakshi Malik zindabad’, and ‘Sakshi hamari prerna hai (Sakshi Malik is our inspiration)’. While the villagers fed her specially-cooked snacks, elderly people showered their love by giving her cash rewards.
Sakshi was also felicitated at her alma mater Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU) by the vice-chancellor.
CELEBRATIONS AT HER NATIVE VILLAGE MOKHRA
The residents of her native village gave Sakshi a rousing welcome by losing their purse strings. Gifts ranging from gold chains to silver idols were presented to Sakshi and her family by generous village panchayats and residents. AAP Haryana convener Naveen Jaihind presented Sakshi a cheque of Rs 1 crore from the Delhi government. INLD leaders Abhay Chautala made an announcement of Rs 51 lakh for the bronze medallist, and said the party would present her the reward on November 1. Haryana education minister Ram Bilas Sharma announced a wrestling academy in the village after her name. Rohtak MP Deepender Hooda announced Rs 25-lakh project in the village, besides giving her Rs 2.5 lakh from his own pocket.