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The medal winners of the Tokyo Olympic Games were all felicitated by the Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur late evening yesterday at Hotel Ashoka, which wore a festive look with its entrance being decked with marigold flowers, ceremonial lanterns and Olympic rings.
The lobby, especially, looked resplendent, shimmering in the incandescence of the special lighting arrangements made to welcome the medals winners and other achievers in Tokyo, who landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport at 5:30 pm on Monday amid tight security.
The Olympians and their support staff, who arrived bon an Air India flight, were taken straight to the Ashoka Hotel in Volvo buses. Security at the airport was unusually strict with multiple forces, including Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), pressed into service to manage the hundreds of fans, who descended at the airport to welcome their heroes.
Heavy forces were deployed inside in the premises of the IGI Airport and outside to restrict entry of general public.
A senior police official told IANS, “Though general people are not allowed to gather here, but in enthusiasm a crowd may gather. Therefore, an elaborate arrangements has been made to avoid any untoward incident.”
Apart from ensuring the safety of the Indian athletes, Delhi Police also ensured strict Covid-19 norms were followed.
“A large number of people gathered to welcome Indian athletes. Though entry for the general public is completely prohibited, there is a possibility of a large gathering as people want to have a glimpse of athletes who made the country proud in the Tokyo Olympics,” said Krishna Kumar, SHO of Terminal-3, IGI.
The Exit gate was barricaded and no one was allowed to reach close to athletes.
As per reports, Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with the players via video conference during the event.
A little further away from Delhi, in UAE, Shamsheer Vayalil, Chairman of VPS Healthcare announced a cash reward of Rs 1 crore for Olympic goalie P.R.Sreejesh for taking Indian Men’s Hockey to “newer heights” at the Tokyo Olympics.
Sreejesh, who hails from Kochi, pulled off a stunning save in the last few seconds of the match resulting in the bronze medal after decades for India.
“Through his outstanding performance at the Olympics, Sreejesh has brought joy to Indians around the world. As a fellow Malayali, I take tremendous pride in his achievement. Thanks to his efforts, the interest in hockey has been renewed. His performance, along with that of the entire Indian hockey team, will serve as encouragement for hundreds of youths in the country,” said Vayalil.
Sreejesh thanked Vayalil for his message and the gesture of appreciation.
“Dr. Shamsheer has congratulated the entire team for this great achievement and offered his support to us. The announcement of the reward caught me by surprise. A reward for winning a medal in the Olympics is delightful news and I feel very fortunate to be the recipient,” Sreejesh said.
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