Olympic medallists Sushil and Yogeshwar return home to a rousing welcome

The Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport is one of the most modern airport facility in the world but on Monday night it was the venue of a mini rural festival, says a report in The Times Of India, adding that for anyone coming in or getting out of T3 on Monday midnight, it was an opportunity to get a sneak peek at what an Indian wedding at any of the Haryana villages might look like.

That was the arrival of India's Olympic medal-winning pehelwans, Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt, along with the rest of the wrestling contingent from the London Olympics. The fight for the medals might have ended on Sunday on the mats in London, but at the Delhi airport, it was a grim competition between Sushil and Yogeshwar's family as to who could throw a bigger welcome party. One hour before the two wrestlers came out of the arrival Gate 6, the dhols and the band were out in full force.

It was all amusing for the common airport users who were coming out all this while. Gracie, who had flown down from Chicago for a holiday in India, had her camera ready and was busy clicking away. "It seems like I have come straight into an Indian wedding . This is an extraordinary way to welcome your sporting idols," she said.

Meanwhile The Hindu writes that it was a momentous occasion for Indian wrestling and the fans did their best to make it memorable. “The homecoming of Olympic silver medallist Sushil Kumar and bronze winner Yogeshwar Dutt from London triggered massive celebrations at the Indira Gandhi International airport as the duo landed here on Monday night. The celebratory atmosphere often threatened to become chaotic as a fairly sizeable crowd, including family members and friends of the two, exulted over the wrestlers’ feats,” says the newspaper, adding that with the crowd dancing to a constant stream of music and drum beats, waving the tricolour, there was a festive atmosphere at the airport.

A garland in every hand, besides three massive ones, spoke a lot about the emotions of the fans who wanted to congratulate their heroes in person despite the chaos and the late night arrival. The ground shook as two troupes of drummers produced ear-splitting sounds as a music band played tunes ceaselessly to declare the importance of the occasion.

“Some 400 people have come from our village (Bhainswal Kalan, 20km from Sonepat) to welcome Yogeshwar,” said Mukesh, brother of the bronze medallist. However, the fan following of two-time Olympic medallist Sushil was unmatched.

According to a report in Mail Today, from the village elderly in spotless white pagdi and dhoti and neighbourhood ladies to kids, everyone thronged Terminal 3, singing and dancing all along.
“The atmosphere was festive and euphoric fans flocked much before the wrestling contingent, along with other athletes, touched down minutes before midnight. Truckloads of people came from Bhainswal Kalan in Sonepat, the village of Yogeshwar, who finally did justice to his talent with a bronze medal in his third Olympics,” says the report, adding that not to be left behind, Baprola, on the outskirts of Delhi, too, made its presence felt. A decorated open vehicle was ready to take Sushil home.

The scene was reminiscent of the Indian contingent's return after the Beijing Games when Sushil and Vijender Kumar got an overwhelming reception.

“He has made us proud. Yogeshwar Bhaiya stayed at our place here when he came from Bhainswal. At that time, he was just eight years old before he joined the Chhatrasal Stadium,” his cousin Preeti said.