The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today felicitated the medal winners of the recently concluded 17th Asian Games at Incheon.
Congratulating those who had brought laurels for the country at the Asian Games, he said he has great enthusiasm (umang) to see India excel in sports. He expressed hope that the combination of his enthusiasm and the spirit (hausla) of the sportspersons would bring good results for the nation.
The Prime Minister said no country can go forward without self-respect and pride. He said when Mangalyaan successfully reached Mars, it was the achievement of the scientists, but a matter of pride for all Indians, and it brought global recognition for India. Similarly, a sportsperson's achievements bring respect and pride for all Indians.
The Prime Minister urged the assembled sportspersons to feel free to give their suggestions to him, and to call on him personally if they have anything specific to talk about. He said they should consider him their "friend." He appreciated the efforts made for the "Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan" by MC Mary Kom and Sachin Tendulkar, and said these had much greater visibility than a Prime Minister wielding the broom. He said sportspersons do as much for the country as political leaders.
Shri Narendra Modi said India has a long history of sports, and a sports stadium has been discovered in the archaeological site of Dholavira near Kutch. Ancient texts like the Ramayana and Mahabharata also show focus on physical activities as part of education. But we have not geared ourselves up to compete globally, so far, he said, adding that this situation is slowly changing now, as states focus on specific sports, and setting up Sports Universities. He said India is tying up with other countries for development of sports.
The Prime Minister said that the corporate world is now coming forward to promote specific sports, and this augurs well for the future.
The Prime Minister said award-winning sportspersons who can speak well, should deliver talks in Universities, as this will prove inspirational for youth.
A mistake by one sportsperson can bring bad name to the country, the Prime Minister said, urging sportspersons to be cautious about their conduct.
The gathering was also addressed by the Minister for Sports, Shri Sarbanand Sonowal. The vote of thanks was proposed by star boxer MC Mary Kom.