Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu arrived home, at the Hyderabad International Airport, on Monday to a grand welcome gala. Amid scenes of jubilation and loud cheers from scores of people, Sindhu, accompanied by coach Pullela Gopichand, was greeted by her parents – P V Ramana and P Vijaya – alongside top politicians, who jostled to shower the Olympian with flowers, present her with shawls and click selfies with the first Indian woman to win a silver medal at the Games.
Telangana Deputy Chief Minister Mohd Mahmood Ali, and some ministers from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were also present to receive the Olympian.
Later, displaying the silver medal, she waved to the cheering crowds from the open-top-motorcade as the procession completed its journey from the airport to the Gachibowli stadium, where the Telangana government had organised a gala felicitation in honour of the star shuttler.
Scores of people had gathered to cheer along the motorcade all along the 30 km route, right from the airport to the stadium.
Cheering crowds, some with national flags in their hands, waved to a beaming Sindhu, who seemed to be basking in the glory, at several road junctions along the bus route, to the stadium.
Sindhu arrived at the Gachibowli stadium where she facilitated at an official ceremony, following which fans lined up to take selfies with the badminton sensation.
School children held banners hailing the badminton star, who caught the imagination of the country with her superb run at Rio, and raised slogans, chanting, 'P V Sindhu Pride of India', while some of them also showered flower petals on the motorcade.
A celebratory mood prevailed at the stadium, where an enthusiastic crowd, mostly school and college students,
gathered, amidst beating of drums by traditional 'Dappu' dance artistes, as Telangana government made it a point to make the event a memorable one.
Following the ceremony at the stadium, Sindhu will head over to the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy, in Gachibowli, where she will hold an interaction with the media and members of the academy.
The Telangana government had announced a Rs five crore cash reward for the 21-year-old, a 1,000 square yard housing site near the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Gachibowli and a suitable government job, if she is willing to accept it that is.
Cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar will also present a BMW Sindhu, for bringing laurels to the country.
— ANI (@ANI_news) August 22, 2016
Telangana government had also announced a cash prize of Rs one crore for Sindhu's coach, Gopichand.
Sindhu, who had been simply unstoppable in the tournament up to the final, had to succumb to the tremendous pressure created by the two-time World Champion from Spain, Carolina Marin, to lose 21-19, 12-21, 15-21 in a high-intensity final that lasted for an hour and 23 minutes at the Riocentre in Rio de Janeiro.
Sindhu and bronze-medal winning wrestler Sakshi Malik were the only Indians to win laurels at the just-concluded Olympics. India finished 67th on the medal tally, while USA finished first with 121 medals.
With inputs from PTI