Five of the seven medallists at Tokyo Olympics – gold medallist Neeraj Chopra, silver medallist Ravi Kumar Dahiya and bronze medallists Bajrang Punia, Lovlina Borgohain and the Indian men’s hockey team – were felicitated at the Ashoka Hotel in Chanakyapuri by Sports Minister Anurag Thakur and Law Minister and former Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday. Apart from the medallists, the ministers lauded the Indian women’s hockey team’s historic finish and all others who gave their all in Tokyo.
Read exactly who said what at the ceremony:
Tokyo Olympics was Olympics of many firsts for India. The biggest contingent, most medals won. We waited for an athletics medal for 121 years and when he did, he did won gold. National anthem was being played in Tokyo but everyone was swelled with pride. Neeraj ji, you have not only won the gold but love of the Indians, you have brought a lot of pride.
Manpreet ji, 41 years of wait is a lot, you have filled the corners of the country with new fervour and I want to congratulate you for that. Rani Rampal, the Indian women’s hockey team played superbly in the semi-final and India is proud of you girls. What Aditi Ashok did, finished fourth in golf, a first close finish. Bhavani Devi in fencing, it’s a first. Nethra did a first for sailor. Asian record was set in 4x400m relay. Best finish for India in rowing. Avinash Sable set a new national record in steeplechase. Many firsts happened and you guys put a lot of dedication. The IOA did all to provide you support, you worked as hard as you could to make India proud.
PM used to ask her how all athletes were training, if the parents were all happy, if the vaccination was done for them all. He spoke to athletes even after they lost and gave them confidence. If a PM of a country can do that, the youth is not going to stay behind. Lovlina, Bajrang and Ravi are here, people will look at them and enter the field and we will break record in 2024 and 2028. You have inspired the next generation, the new India thinks differently. We wanted to do the program in Major Dhyanchand stadium but couldn’t do it because of weather. The association and the government will do everything to support you guys and India will continue to do better. All the best for the future.
Thank you so much for all the love. Today it feels like I won a medal again. I got a lot of help for the injury and I thank SAI a lot for that. Earlier I couldn’t take a risk and the physios asked me to have the brace. I thought this was the last bout, even if I hurt my knee more, it’s not a problem and I just had to give my best.
It feels so good to be back to India. We knew India was very happy but it feels so good to be back. We won the medals for the country and people are in it, it feels very good. Will keep trying to win medals for India further. I was only thinking of winning the gold, I didn’t think of anything else, not the confirmed bronze. In the future, I will think of the same. I just thought that winning or losing is nothing and I just want to give my all in the semi-final.
It feels very nice. I want to thank everyone – SAI, GoI and IOA – they helped a lot during quarantine and asked us to focus only the tournament and ask us for anything. I want to congratulate all the medallists and everyone, please clap for Neeraj for that gold.
They are my family, we spend a lot of time together and we know what we like what we don’t. Sree has a family waiting so he’ll join in late but rest of us will get together soon again and practice for the upcoming tournaments.
We have all won due to our family’s support. That’s the best thing. We (the team) are a family and this is the country’s medal.
I don’t want to share but give that title (Wall of India title) to Savita. The number of saves she made at the right time. Unfortunately, the women’s team couldn’t win a medal but a great performance.
Ravi Kumar Dahiya
I started in my village. Then I came in Delhi in 2008 and I saw Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt got all the respect. I wanted that too and today, I want to thank everyone for the support and love.
First of all, Namaste and thank you to everyone for the support. I want to show the gold medal, it’s all of India’s. I have been carrying it in my pocket since that day. I haven’t been able to sleep and eat well since that day but then I see the medal and it’s all okay.
I had worked hard but I knew the competition was hard, I was fourth. But then the qualification happened and I knew I had it in me and I didn’t want to let it go. One shouldn’t be scared of the competitors, just give your 100 per cent.
I thought the second throw was my personal best but it was a bit less. The next day I felt it all in my shoulder and arms but then I won the medal so it’s all okay.
I had long locks since young age but recently it started troubling me. I tried bands and caps to keep it in control but it would come on my eyes and I felt, hair will grow back, the Olympics were important.
All us medallists have to travel long to be a sportsperson but when you have the families support and if there is a problem with money or stadium, one gets more fire and wants to overcome all that.
Olympics is the biggest event in the world. All the returning Olympians and medallists, I want to thank you all. This moment cannot be described in words. When we were watching you in Tokyo, we felt the pain too, because we were playing for you. Waking up at 5am, we were cheering for you. We are very proud of you.
When the Olympics preparation was going on, PM asked us to prepare it all – from food to accomodation – for all the athletes but the pandemic spoilt that plan. Rani Rampal and the team, you won everyone’s hearts. We cried with you but it was all for pride.
We got seven medals in six events. When I spoke to Milkha Singh, he said I want to see an Olympic medal in athletics. Neeraj Chopra dedicated his medal to Milkha Singh ji and I want to thank you for that.
We went to pay tribute to Milkha Singh ji after he passed away and we remembered him during the Olympics.
Whether you win the medals at the Olympics, just playing there is huge. Gold, silver and bronze medals are name but they are made of blood, tears and sweat. From all the people of India, I want to thank you all again. I want to thank all the coaches and IOA and everyone who worked in the background to make them superstars.