It wasn’t easy at all for Olympic silver medallist Mirabai Chanu while she was growing up. Her village, Nongpok Kakching, is over 25 kilometres away from the Sports Academy in Manipur’s capital Imphal. Not having enough money to travel the distance every day, Chanu, now a star weightlifter in the country, used to hitch a ride with trucks that used to carry river sands to Imphal. In fact, it is being learned that the truckers agreed to give her a lift every day for almost several years.
And after hogging the well-deserved limelight and making India proud post winning the silver medal at Tokyo 2020, Mirabai did not forget her trucker friends who helped her in her journey. On Thursday, she expressed her gratitude to these truck drivers as she treated 150 drivers and helpers, felicitating them with a shirt, a Manipuri scarf and a full-course lunch.
A report carried by NDTV further claims that Mirabai shed a few tears as she thanked the drivers for their support during her difficult time. She even stated that her dream of becoming a weightlifter would never have been fulfilled had it not been for the truckers who helped her travel to her training facility in Imphal.
“It’s really a dream come true for me. I would like to dedicate this medal to my country and would like to thank a billion prayers of all Indians who were with me during this journey. I like to thank my family especially my mother for a lot of sacrifices and believing in me,” said Chanu in a statement posted on her Twitter account after winning the country’s second medal in weightlifting at the Olympics.
— Saikhom Mirabai Chanu (@mirabai_chanu) July 24, 2021
“Also special thanks to our government for supporting me, Ministry of Sports, SAI, I0A, Weightlifting Federation of India, Railways, OGQ, sponsors, and my marketing agency IOS for their continuous support in this journey,” she added.
“I would like to give special thanks to my coach Vijay Sharma sir and support staff for their continuous hard work, motivation, and training. Thank you once again entire weightlifting fraternity and all my countrymen,” she further said.
Chanu lifted a total of 202 kg (87kg in snatch and 115kg in clean and jerk) during her successful attempts at Tokyo 2020. China’s Zhihui Hou, who bagged the gold, lifted 210 kg. Meanwhile, Indonesia’s Windy Cantika Aisah grabbed bronze with a total of 194kg.