New Delhi: World Championship silver medallist Amit Kumar Dahiya and bronze winner Bajrang were accorded a warm welcome on their return from Budapest in the wee hours on Friday, with hundreds of supporters turning up at the international airport to receive the star wrestlers.
Both the wrestlers returned home to a hero`s welcome as fans and young grapplers from nearby akhadas came with garlands, bouquets and sweets, danced to deafening drum beats while they waited for the wrestlers to come out of Terminal 3 of the airport.
The crowd carried both Amit and Bajrang over their shoulders and welcomed them with a huge roar when they first sighted the two wrestlers coming out of the airport.
Both waved at the crowd and acknowledged the grand welcome, while relishing the carnival like atmosphere outside the terminal 3.
Shouts of `Amit, Bajrang ki jay` reverberated in the air.
Even before the flight from Budapest landed, a huge crowd had gathered at the arrival terminus.
While Amit won a silver medal in the 55kg freestyle category, Bajrang clinched a bronze in the 60kg category.
Speaking to the waiting media, Amit expressed happiness over his performance and said he was overwhelmed by the reception.
"I am very happy with my performance. I was gunning for the gold medal as I had practiced hard for the tournament but unfortunately couldn`t get it due to bad umpiring decision. The referee warned me for not attacking the Iranian and awarded him the point. I was a contender for gold. Nevertheless, I am happy with my performance and overwhelmed by the reception received here," said Amit.
Bajrang, too, seemed excited to have won a bronze medal and said he wants to carry on his good perforamnce in the tournaments ahead.
"I am happy to have made the whole country proud. I am happy with my perforamance. This is India`s best-ever finish in the World Championship," he said.
Both Amit and Bajrang were unanimous in thanking their role models -- two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar and London Games bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt -- for encouraging them before every bout in the World Championships.
"They are our role model. Both egged us on to carry on the good work and gun for glory. Their kind words helped me a lot. They always egged me on before every bout," said Amit.
Amit said he has become more confident post London Olympics.
"Before the Olympics, I was a nervous guy but after participating in the London Games and getting the desired exposure, I became more confident in my approach. Now, the nervousness is gone," he said.
Coach Satpal Singh also welcomed the two heroes on their arrival and said the medal win was important for wrestling after its re-inclusion on the Olympic Games roster.
"We defeated the opponents from higher-ranked countries like Russia, USA, Georgia and Japan by big margins. We invested in these kids and they paid us rich dividends. These medals were necessary for wrestling after its re-inclusion in Olympics."