Besides their family members, a host of sports administrators, thousands of fans and friends had gathered at the Airport to receive them with beating drums, garlands and banners.
Sushil Kumar won the medal in the men’s 66 kg freestyle category, defeating Leonid Speiridonov of Kazakhistan. He became the second Indian wrestler after 56 years to bag a bronze medal. Earlier, Khashaba Jadhav of Karad, Maharashtra, had won an individual bronze in the Helsinki Olympics in 1952.
Vijender Kumar became the first-ever Indian boxer to win an Olympic medal. His performance also boosted India’s medal tally in Beijing Olympics to three, after shooter Abhinav Bindra won gold in 10m air rifle event and wrestler Sushil Kumar bagged bronze.
Today, both Sushil and Vijender are scheduled to meet Union Sports Minister MS Gill, President Pratibha Patil, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.
Arriving by the same flight were officials of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), including its president Suresh Kalmadi, secretary general Randhir Singh along with members of the contingent who finished their events in the second week of the Games.
India won three medals at the Beijing Olympics, their best ever performance at the Summer Games. Earlier, in 1928, India had only won four individual medals, none of them gold, since sending their first team to the Summer Games.
The men’s hockey team has won the Olympic tournament eight times. Last time it won gold was in 1980.