"No pressure for medals on athletes but expect them to give their best": Modi
New Delhi, August 17, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asserted that "new India does not put pressure for medals on its athletes but expects them to give their best."
Interacting with the para-athlete contingent for the Tokyo Paralympic Games and their families, guardians and coaches via video conferencing, the Prime Minister said, "The country is helping its sportspersons with an open heart. Whatever state, region you belong to, whatever language you speak, above all, today you are ‘Team India. This spirit should permeate every part of our society at every level.
"Our villages and remote areas are full of talent and the contingent of para-athletes is a living example of that," he said.
Modi said we have to think of our youth and ensure that they should get all the resources and facilities. The Prime Minister said there are many young players in these areas with capabilities to win medals.
"Today, the country is trying to reach them, special attention is being paid to the rural areas," he said.
The Prime Minister said that, for recognizing local talents, 360 Khelo India Centres have been established. Soon this number will be increased to 1,000 centres. Equipment, grounds and other resources and infrastructure are being made available to sportspersons.
"The country is helping its sportspersons with an open heart. The country provided necessary facilities and targets through ‘Target Olympic Podium Scheme’," he said.
"In order to reach the top, we have to shed fears that made home in the hearts of the older generation when families were apprehensive if a child was interested in sports and there were no career prospects in sports, barring one or two sports. This insecurity needed to be destroyed.
"We have to keep on improving our ways and systems to develop sports culture in India," he said, adding that traditional sports are getting a new identity along with the promotion of international sports.
He talked about the establishment of Sports University in Imphal, status of sports in the New National Education Policy and Khelo India Movement as key steps in that direction.
He urged the athletes to strengthen the spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat irrespective of sports they represent. “Whatever state, region you belong to, whatever language you speak, above all this, today you are ‘Team India. This spirit should permeate every part of our society at every level.”
Welcoming the Prime Minister, Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur said, “Prime Minister, your interest towards sports, your guidance in promoting sports, the encouragement you have given to the players from time to time, are a source of inspiration for all of us. We believe that with your strong guidance and best wishes of the countrymen, our players will definitely be successful in winning medals and hoisting the flag of victory for the country.”
He exuded confidence that the Indian Paralympics Contingent is set to script history in Tokyo. The players are charged up with the best wishes of the Prime Minister and added that this time the country is sending its largest contingent ever in which 54 para-players will take part in nine para sports categories.
He said that Indian para-athletes have consistently excelled in international para sports competitions across the world and have made India proud on many occasions.
Union Minister for Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju; President of Archery Association of India and Union Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda; President of Paralympics Committee of India Deepa Malik; Secretary, Department of Sports, Ravi Mittal were among those virtually present at the event.