On the evening of Wednesday 13th February Shri Narendra Modi addressed the concluding ceremony of Khel Mahakumbh 2012-2013. Shri Modi came down heavily against the proposed decision of the International Olympic Committee to abolish wrestling from the Olympics and strongly urged the Prime Minister and the Government of India to take the lead and oppose this decision. He added that to oppose a sport like wrestling in the name of modernity is an insult to wrestling, which has been a part of our society since the Mahabharata and been in the Olympics since 1895. “There must be no games in sports! (
Ramat ma Ramat na chale)” he affirmed.
On the issue the Chief Minister further said that this news is not good news for any sports lover and that if it is removed in the name of “modernity” a very old sport will decline. Shri Modi said that we should not wait for the decision, which is expected in September 2013 but take the initiative much earlier. He suggested that we form a group, get together and present our voice with strength. “You do not need to be a wrestler. A great sport is being insulted. We must show our strength and present our views,” he pointed out.
In his speech Shri Modi also talked about the great heights of success the Khel Mahakumbh initiative of the Gujarat Government has scaled. He congratulated all the 25 lakh participants of the sports extravaganza and added that 72 new records have been set. “For so many records it shows that as a state, as a society, sports has been accepted in society. It has become part of our lives,” he stated.
Prizes worth Rs. 32 crore were given during the Khel Mahakumbh. Shri Modi shared that over 8 lakh women athletes participated in the Khel Mahakumbh 2012-2013 and this added greater strength to the initiative. He also stated that over 92,000 specially abled athletes participated in the meet. The Chief Minister affirmed that the world must take note of what Gujarat is doing for the specially abled athletes.
He expressed joy that so many people above the age of 45 are participating in the meet with great zeal. Shri Modi opined that sports should show collective strength and talked at length about the Gujarat Government’s efforts to promote a culture of sports among the people including the Sports University.
Speaking on the occasion Cabinet Minister Shri Ramanlal Vora said that 25 lakh people from all parts of Gujarat have joined the Khel Mahakumbh. Mr. Tom Calder, who is Australia’s trade commissioner in India spoke on the occasion and commended Shri Modi and those involved in the Khel Mahakumbh for what he called a fantastic celebration of grassroots sports.
Shri Modi stated that due to the model code of conduct and elections the 2012 Khel Mahakumbh is being held now and that the 2013 Khel Mahakumbh will be held later this year!
During the ceremony Shri Modi felicitated the winners of various events and also felicitated Mr. Rupesh Shah who recently won the World Billiard Championship. He felicitated Ms. Maya Devipujak, a specially abled athlete who did the nation proud by winning a gold medal at the floor hockey tournament in South Korea. Shri Modi said that her achievement is a matter of great pride for the nation and Gujarat.
Cabinet Ministers Smt. Anandiben Patel, Shri Ganpat Vasava, Shri Ramanlal Vora and Minister of State Shri Pradipsinh Jadeja were present. Shri Bhagyesh Jha (IAS), Secretary Sports and Youth Development was present.