India's Olympic contingent, including history-making javelin throw gold-medallist Neeraj Chopra, returned to the country on Monday and was received enthusiastically by officials even as a frenzied crowd gathered outside the airport to welcome the heroes of the country's best-ever Games campaign.
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The athletes were welcomed by a Sports Authority of India delegation headed by its Director General Sandeep Pradhan. Athletics Federation of India head Adille Sumariwala also accompanied him.
Welcome home champions!
ðÂÂ®ðÂÂ³ Athletics Team is back from the #Tokyo2020 Olympics. Lets welcome them with joy and excitement and #Cheer4India.
Watch the video and send in your best wishes in the comments below ðÂÂÂðÂÂ»@PMOIndia @ianuragthakur @NisithPramanik @afiindia @WeAreTeamIndia pic.twitter.com/9wJrvdzjPC— SAIMedia (@Media_SAI) August 9, 2021
The athletes were garlanded and presented with bouquets on arrival and were applauded by the airport staff as they made their way out to utter chaos due to the huge presence of supporters and media personnel.
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#NeerajChopra received by a huge crowd of people at Delhi Airport.
We Indians are so proud of pur hero. ðÂÂÂðÂÂÂpic.twitter.com/M1bDHTQNDm— Shining Star ðÂÂ®ðÂÂ³ (@ShineHamesha) August 9, 2021
The huge gathering meant that social distancing norms went for a toss as people rushed in to catch a glimpse of the stars of the historic performance.
India surpassed their previous best haul of six medals achieved in the 2012 London Games with one gold, two silver and four bronze medals in Tokyo.
While Chopra added the golden sheen to the campaign, the silver medals came from weightlifter Mirabai Chanu and wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya. The bronze medals were claimed by boxer Lovlina Borgohain, shuttler P V Sindhu, the men's hockey team and wrestler Bajrang Punia.
Of the medal winners, Chanu and Sindhu had returned to the country earlier after the completion of their events as COVID-19 protocols required athletes to leave Tokyo within 48 hours of the medal ceremony.
India had sent a 228-strong contingent for the Games, including more than 120 athletes. This was the country's biggest ever presence at the quadrennial showpiece which took place after a delay of one year due to the pandemic.