A band played and people cheered as shooter Abhinav Bindra, who won India its first ever individual Olympic gold, returned to the country to a hero's welcome in New Delhi early on Thursday.
A large number of sports buffs and officials of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) were present at the Indira Gandhi International Airport to have a glimpse of Bindra, who clinched top honours in 10 m air rifle event at the Beijing Olympics Monday.
"Its a great honour for me. Its a huge honour. I am really proud of it," Bindra told the waiting media at the airport after arriving around 1 am by an Air China flight from Beijing.
Policemen were deployed at the airport in strength to prevent any untoward scenes and the shooter was led out through the departure gate and whisked away in a small motorcade of three cars.
The country's latest sports icon was received by his father AS Bindra, his mother Babli, and relatives and friends, as some in the crowd raised slogans eulogising the shooter.
"Jab tak chand aur suraj rahega, Bindra tera naam desh yaad rakhega (so long the sun and the moon are there, the nation will remember you, Bindra)," shouted some youths.
But the huge media contingent, both from the electronic and the print, left the airport a trifle unhappy as they were expecting some more soundbytes from the shooter.