Bhiwani goes all out to welcome its boxing heroesAugust 27th, 2008 - 9:57 pm ICT by IANS
Bhiwani (Haryana), Aug 27 (IANS) Bhiwani’s newest heroes - boxers Vijender Kumar, Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar - raised quite a storm in this small town Wednesday evening as they arrived to a tumultuous welcome from hundreds of people pouring out onto the streets to greet them.The cynosure of all eyes, of course, was the good-looking Vijender Kumar, who won bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics. Hundreds of people jostled for elbow room on the crowded roads to catch a glimpse of him and the other two boxers.
In fact, the sportsmen were earlier welcomed by many villagers at the Delhi airport and along the highway en route to Bhiwani - the town where they learnt their boxing basics and trained hard till just before the Olympics. Even though their arrival was delayed by a couple of hours, it failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the people.
“I am overwhelmed by the love and affection that people have showered on us.
This will definitely prompt us to go for gold in the London 2012 Olympics. I have not been able to sleep for the last two nights because of the love I have got after arriving in India,” an excited Vijender said in his strong Haryanvi accent after arriving here.
The boxers drove in a motorcade of nearly 100 cars through the town. They were themselves perched on a flower-bedecked open jeep.
Their arrival show looked like an event completely of the opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) with the Chautala brothers - Indian Boxing Federation president Abhey Singh Chautala and his elder brother and Table Tennis federation of India president Ajay Singh Chautala - remaining centre-stage. Both brothers shared the same jeep with the boxers.
The coach of the boxers, G.S. Sandhu, also accompanied them on the victory procession around the town.
The boxers, especially Vijender in a light blue shirt, were garlanded by people at several places.
“We could never imagine such a welcome. It is amazing. All this will give a big boost to non-cricket sports in this country,” said Akhil Kumar, who reached the quarterfinals of the 54-kg boxing event in Beijing.
Family members of the boxers, friends, fellow boxers and hundreds of other people turned out in large numbers to welcome the boxers.