Tokyo Games: Mirabai Chanu with her coach during the ongoing Olympics.© Instagram
India’s first medallist at the Tokyo Olympics Mirabai Chanu and her coach Vijay Sharma on Sunday thanked the central government for its sustained support over the last five years which resulted in her silver-winning performance. Mirabai (49 kg) became the second weightlifter from the country after Karnam Malleswari in 2000 to end up on the Olympic podium. “I would like to specially thank Sports Authority of India and Target Olympic Podium Scheme for extending every possible support for my continuous training in the country and abroad.
“This medal is only possible because of the teamwork. Thank you once again,” Mirabai wrote on social media.
Mirabai’s training stint in the United States cost Rs 70 lakh and she was flown out one day before the country imposed travel restrictions on Indian travellers due to rising cases of COVID-19 in April and May.
“Mirabai travelled to St. Louis, USA with support through the TOPS scheme to work with renowned physical therapist, strength and conditioning coach Dr. Aaron Horschig ahead of the Olympics at a cost of 70 lakhs,” the release stated.
This decision to send Mirabai to USA was taken in a matter of a few hours after it became apparent that the country would close down for Indian travellers.
She boarded the flight on May 1, a day before the US imposed a travel ban on flyers from India due to growing COVID-19 cases there.
The government had earlier also funded her visit to the USA between October and December 2020 to visit Dr. Horschig.
Apart from her visits to USA for her stint with Dr. Horschig, the government had assisted with her injury rehabilitation in 2018 with expert guidance of physios Heath Matthews and Shrikant Iyengar.
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