Rolling out red carpet for Mirabai Face mask, shield say it all

Ever since she lifted her way to the Silver at the ongoing Olympics at Tokyo, Saikhom Miranda Chanu has been more and more impressive. ‘Quite thoughtfully Miranda retained her face shield and mask, when she was escorted by security personnel and other staff’ is one sentence in a report filed from New Delhi that must have grabbed the attention of every discernible citizens of the land. It was this singular sentence that made the red carpet welcome for the Olympic champion at New Delhi airport on her return to the country from Japan all that more remarkable. Credit too should be given to the reporter for her/his keen sense of observation in capturing this and one single sentence has gone a long way in giving one a glimpse into the personality of the young woman. It is mindset like this, the concern for the safety of not only oneself but also for others that divides the champions from the others. Mirabai Chanu is not the first Olympic champion from Manipur, with Mary Kom still going strong  at Tokyo and one hopes she caps this off with a better show than London 2012. One also hopes the National Sports University here gives the right push to the sports movement in the State to give India more Mary Koms and more Mirabai Chanus in the coming years. It should also not be forgotten that the route that Mirabai has travelled to reach the podium at Tokyo was initially laid by lifters like Kunjarani, Sanamacha etc years back and the legacy she has inherited should not be forgotten by anyone. Likewise no one should also forget the legacy that the young lifter from Imphal East is set to lay down for the upcoming generations. One hopes the National Sports University at Manipur is able to give better shape to the path already laid down by the Silver medallist, Mirabai Chanu.
The red carpet rolled out for the young lifter on landing at Imphal was in tune with the occasion and one hopes this is just the beginning. Again lest one forgets, it would help for the people of Manipur that there are four others who have made it to the Olympics this time and acknowledging their stupendous show in even qualifying for the biggest sporting bonanza in the world is what is expected of the people who have given birth to the sports culture in the State. This is one point which no one, least of all the Government should forget. It should also be kept in mind that a sporting movement should not lose sight of the point that just as the Bronze of Mary Kom in the London Olympics of 2012 was not the end but the beginning of something grander, the Silver of Mirabai at Tokyo 2020 should be seen as just the right boost for the future. This should mean that Manipur can and should look for more medals in the coming sports meet such as the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games etc. The red carpet welcome laid down by the people to welcome Mirabai should be taken one, two, three more steps forward so that more and more such world beaters in sports can be produced here.