RIO OLYMPICS

Grand homecoming for champion Sindhu

City shuttler PV Sindhu, who created history by winning the first ever badminton silver in the just-concluded Rio Olympic Games, accorded a grand reception by her family, politicians, well-wishers and trainees of the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy on her touchdown in city at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Shamshabad on Monday.

While her flight was scheduled to arrive at 8.50 am, it was delayed by 40 minutes. Sindhu’s parents PV Ramana and PV Vijaya and her sister Divya reached the airport at 8.30am and waited for her arrival. Keeping the security reasons in mind, she was brought through the ‘Haj Terminal’ instead of the regular one. Family members, political leaders and trainees from her academy along with local and national media were the only ones to be allowed at the receiving point. Two giant screens were arranged outside the terminal. Sindhu, wearing the Indian blazer and accompanied by her coach Pullela Gopichand, landed at 9.40 am to a loud cheer by the sparse crowd. First to receive her were her parents while politicians State Deputy Chief Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali, Home Minister Nayani Narasimha Reddy, city Mayor Bonthu Ram Mohan presented her bouquets. Also present at the occasion were ministers Talasani Sreenivas Yadav, Mahinder Reddy, Congress leader V Hanumanth Rao and Telangana State Athletics Association secretary Prof. K Ranga Rao.

In an unprecedented way, Sindhu and Gopichand along with their family members were taken to an open-deck double decker bus and paraded from airport to Gachibowli Stadium. The double decker bus was specially brought in from Mumbai’ Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) for the victory parade. Hyderabad district collector Rahul Bojja called up the BEST on Saturday night and requested for it. The bus had travelled 750 kms overnight and reached Hyderabad on Sunday for the historic rally.

The bus was decorated with flowers and joining her on the top of the bus were Sindhu and Gopichand’s family members. Sindhu, Gopichand other family members were waving to the crowd the held the tri-colour aloft throughout their parade which started at 10 am. The parade passed through Aramghar, Attapur, Nala Nagar, Toli Chowki, Raidurgam, Khajaguda and culminated at the Stadium. She was greeted with school children and citizens throughout the journey. Students from both private and government schools formed human chains on the either sides of the road and cheered the champion. They waved tri-colour and held placards which said ‘Champion Sindhu’, ‘We are proud of you Sindhu’. The junctions like Shamshabad, Attapur, and Nalanagar were filled with huge crowd, chanting Sindhu name. Students showered the flowers on the bus from the top of flyovers. The traffic was diverted throughout the route and arrangements were made to facilitate the smooth passage of the parade. For any emergency, 108 ambulances were following the convoy along with two security buses.

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