Amidst an auditorium full of star struck students, fellow athletes and family members, silver medalist PV Sindhu and bronze medalist Sakshi Malik were on Wednesday felicitated by the Delhi government for their stupendous performance at the Rio Olympics.
The Delhi government awarded Rs 2 crore to Sindhu, Rs 1 crore to Sakshi Malik, Rs 5 lakh each to coaches Pullela Gopichand and Mandeep Singh, Rs 3 lakh to table tennis player Manika Batra and 4x400m relay athlete Lalit Mathur. The physio duo of PV Sindhu, Subodh and Kiran Challagundla, were also felicitated.
Praising the two Indian medal winners and their coaches Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed that the players had honoured the gathering by gracing the occasion.
“I don’t know how much we have honoured them, it is them who have honored us by being here,” he said.
The players kept their addresses short and sweet by thanking their coaches, parents and everyone for the support they received.
“We had no phones in Rio, we found out later when we came to India when people told us that the roads were empty when the matches were going on. I am thankful for your love and support,” Sindhu said.
“Thank you for the support, will need it in the future so that I can keep getting medals for the country,” Sakshi said.
Two time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar was also present at the ceremony along with Deputy CM Manish Sisodia.
The rain delayed the ceremony by an hour but all was forgotten once the players reached except when the anchor called Sakshi Malik, ‘Sakshi Tomar’ and stuttered with the names of the players constantly through out the ceremony.
Talking to the media later, Gopichand spoke about the Bible like book he carries whenever he is on court and future plans for his academy.
“I write all my strategies and game plan in the book. It will take me the next 10 days to come to a decision about the academy,” he told PTI.