Modi exhorts Tokyo-bound sportspersons to give their best, says entire nation is behind them
New Delhi, July 13, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday exhorted the sportspersons who will be representing the country in the Tokyo Olympic Games to give their best and assured them that the entire nation's good wishes are with them.
In a virtual interaction with the sportspersons, the Prime Minister said that there were a lot of expectations from the sportspersons but advised them not to get burdened by them. He said they should remain focused and do their best.
The Prime Minister, who was well briefed about the selected athletes, spoke to 15 sportspersons and also to some of their family members.
He started his interaction with archer Deepika Kumari and concluded with the tennis star Sania Mira. For both Deepika and Sania, this will be their third straight Olympics.
In between he also talked with archer Praveen Jadhav, boxers Mary Kom and Ashish Kumar, athletes Neeraj Chopra and Dutee Chand, badminton ace P V Sindhu, table tennis players Sharat Kamal and Monika Batra, shooters Elavenil Valarivan and Saurabh Chaudhary, swimmer Sajan Prakash, hockey captain Manpreet Singh and wrestler Vinesh Phogat.
The two archers Deepika and Jadhav gave details about their preparations to the Prime minister.
Modi had a special word of encouragement for army man and javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, saying that he should not feel the pressure of expectations and should just focus on giving his 100 per cent.
He told sprinter Dutte Chand that the entire country wants to see her grab a podium finish in Tokyo.
He inquired from boxer Ashish Kumar about his fight against Covid-19 and also about losing his father. The boxer narrated the ordeal that he faced when he tested positive for Covid-19 in Spain.
The Prime minister compared Ashish's example with that of cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, who too had played in the 1999 ICC World Cup despite losing his father mid-way through the tournament.
He told Mary Kom that she is an inspiration for the entire country and that her achievements have inspired several young boxers. He wanted to know who her idol is. Mary Kom replied that legendary boxer Mohammed Ali was her idol.
Sindhu thanked the government for helping her get all the facilities to train for the Games. Replying to a question from the Prime Minister, Sindhu's father spoke about the need to allow young children to take up sports as it helps in keeping them healthy.
Modi started of his conversation with shooter Elavenil Valarivan in Gujarati. The shooter spent her formative years of training in the Prime Minister's home state of Gujarat and responded to his question with a greeting in Gujarati.
A college student herself, Elavenil informed him about how she is managing her career in shooting along with academics.
Shooter Saurabh Chaudhary informed the Prime Minister about his routine and also asked him about how he manages to keep calm while handling matters related to the country.
Veteran Sharath Kamal, who will represent India in table tennis, implored the athletes to give utmost importance to Covid-19 norms and protect themselves. He spoke of how the scene has changed in India for professional sport and the kind of importance all sporting disciplines get in the country.
The Prime Minister congratulated table tennis star Manika Batra for teaching the sport to underprivileged kids.
Female wrestler Vinesh Phogat spoke about carrying forward the legacy of the Phogat family and how she battled past the career-threatening injury that saw her limp out of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
He also had a word with swimmer Sajan Prakash, who became the first Indian swimmer to qualify for the Olympic Games after clearing the 'A' standard of international swimming in the 200m butterfly event.
Hockey captain Manpreet Singh was of the view that the Olympic record serves as an inspiration and does not add any extra pressure.
Tennis player Sania Mirza said that there are a lot of opportunities in the sport as compared to the time when she picked up a racket.