Chandigarh: Nondescript Bhainswal Kalan village in Haryana's Sonepat district came alive with bursting of firecrackers, beating of drums, dance by its womenfolk to welcome son-of-the-soil Yogeshwar Dutt, who reached home wee hours on Tuesday from London after winning an Olympic bronze.
It was a rare sight as on a routine day, the village folks go to sleep early, but everyone, including children, were awake as the 29-year-old Yogeshwar arrived in his village, about 20km from Sonepat and nearly 65km from Delhi.
Yogeshwar was brought to his village by his brother Mukesh and friends in a Multi Utility Vehicle from Delhi airport, where he arrived with London Olympic silver medal winning wrestler Sushil Kumar, who has also his roots in Haryana, but is settled in Delhi.
As soon as Yogeshwar entered the village boundary, people already on the streets waiting for him garlanded him and showered him with flower petals.
The village skyline was lit by the bursting of firecrackers and womenfolk at his three-storeyed house broke into traditional dance to welcome him. Sweets were distributed to everyone who was present.
The grappler's mother Sushila Devi, who had been waiting for him with a 'puja thali', applied 'tilak' on his forehead and hugged him.
Yogeshwar took his mother's blessings upon reaching home and presented the medal to her, who turned emotional on seeing her son return with the medal.
Later, the grappler took the medal and placed it before the picture of his late father, who passed away six years ago.
A retired teacher, Sushila Devi, said wedding bells were in the offing for the wrestler.
Yogeshwar's three elder sisters and one younger brother are all married.
While Devi said she was keen to find a suitable "simple girl" for his son, Yogeshwar said that marriage can wait as he wanted to become a world champion first.
Yogeshwar said that he wants to open a wrestling academy in Haryana so that he could train young rural talent and make them future champions.
He gave credit to his 'Gurus' and parents for helping him chase and realise his dream of winning an Olympic medal.
"It is a great occasion for us and the happiest moment of our lives," Yogeshwar's brother Mukesh said.
After winning the bronze, Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had congratulated the wrestler and announced a reward of Rs 1 crore for him.
Yogeshwar became the fourth sportsperson who has roots in Haryana to bring laurels for the country at the Olympic Games.
Ace shooter Gagan Narang, badminton player Saina Nehwal (bronze medals) and Sushil Kumar (silver in wrestling) have also brought laurels for the state and country.
Yogeshwar shot into popularity after winning the Asian Games bronze medal in 2006, barely days after his father's death. After his Commonwealth Games gold, he become a popular name in the state.