Hon'ble Prime Minister: Rohit ji, you are the senior most in this field. For how many years have you been playing, Rohit ji?
Rohit ji: I have played Olympics for many years since 1997.
Prime Minister: While playing you must have confronted several senior players. How has been the experience?
Rohit ji: Sir when I started playing in 1997, I used to compete with people having 'hearing' capability and I tried to grow; and I also played in the Olympics. I tried to get ahead in the competition with the mainstream players and now I can play with my mainstream competitors.
Prime Minister: Well, tell us about yourself Rohit. How did you get into this field? Who inspired you in the beginning? And how do you manage to never get tired of playing with all your heart and passion for so long?
Rohit ji: Sir, I was very young, I don't even remember that time. I used to go with my parents and felt extremely happy to watch the way the mainstream people used to play. I also wanted to play. So, that's when I too had set my targets and went ahead. When I had started playing in 1997, the people with hearing impairment did not play. I was not getting any kind of support, but only consolation. My father used to cooperate a lot! He used to pay a lot of attention to my food, drink, juice, and the entire diet that was needed. God has been very kind. So, badminton is extremely dear to me.
Prime Minister: Rohit, when you play in the doubles, I have heard that Mahesh is sometimes your partner. Mahesh is much younger to you. There is so much difference. You are much senior. Mahesh is very young. How do you handle him? How do you guide him? How do you match yourself with him?
Rohit ji: Mahesh is very young and had started playing with me in 2014. He used to live near my house. So, I have taught him a lot - the movements, the hard work. Preparations for Deaflympics are slightly different. Despite certain shortcomings whatever I have taught him, he supports me a lot.
Prime Minister: Rohit ji, we are all with you. Rohit ji, when it comes to your life as a player and as a person, I believe you have leadership quality and a confidence level in you. And you never get bored of anything. You keep on instilling the vigour. I firmly believe that you have really been a great inspiration for the youth of the country. You never gave up despite the obstacles in your life. Yes, God might have given some limitation, but you never gave up. You have been winning medals for the country for the last 27 years. And I see that you are still not satisfied; there is a passion to do even more in you. And I can see that as your age is increasing, so is your performance. It is also getting better. You keep setting newer goals and try to achieve new targets. I believe that this one quality is the biggest strength in a sportsperson's life. He is never complacent. He sets several new goals and works hard for it. As a result of that he keeps on achieving something. From my side as well as on behalf of my country, I wish Rohit the very best and my heartiest congratulations!
Rohit ji: Thank you very much! I also congratulate you sir.
Announcer : Mr. Virendra Singh (Wrestling)
Prime Minister: Virendra ji! How are you?
Virendra Singh: I am absolutely fine.
Prime Minister: Are you fine?
Virendra Singh: Yes, yes sir!
Prime Minister: Tell me a little about yourself, the countrymen want to see you!
Virendra Singh: My father and my uncle were wrestlers. I learnt wrestling by observing them and gained that quality. Then I made constant efforts to keep growing. Since childhood, my parents used to support me. My father supported me and I went on to learn wrestling and have reached this level today.
Prime Minister: But are your father and uncle satisfied?
Virendra Singh: No, they want me to do more, play more, keep on growing, and keep on progressing. I see that the people who can hear are moving forward and winning. I too play with the mainstream people, have defeated them too and got selected. However, as I could not hear, I was rejected. It hurt me and I cried a lot. But then when I entered the deaf society, I got goose bumps. I was extremely delighted that I had won. When I had won the medal for the first time, I thought why should I go after the mainstream playing? Now I can earn fame within the deaf society itself and I can move forward relentlessly. I have won several medals: in 2005, then in 2007 and after that I had won the first Olympics in Turkey.
Prime Minister: Well Virendra, tell me one thing. Since 2005 you have won medals in every Deaflympics. Where do you get this consistency from? What is your inspiration behind this?
Virendra Singh: I don't pay as much attention to the diet as I pay to my practice. I constantly practice with the mainstream people and work very hard. That hard work doesn't go in vain. I just observe how they are playing and keep growing. Day in and day out, I pay a lot of attention to my continuous practice. I make sure that whenever I go abroad to play, I touch the feet of my parents and I have them in my thoughts while playing. And I always have one expectation in my heart about coming back victorious and I feel delighted about that.
Prime Minister: Well Virendra; who is the player in the world from whom you get to learn something while playing? Whose game do you love watching?
Virendra Singh: I watch all the wrestlers and try to understand their strategy. I learn by watching them play. I play by observing them. So, I make sure that I am watching them closely and constantly keep thinking about the way these players played even at home so that I could play better than them and give equal fight to them. I should not be scared of the player at all. I must give a tough competition and win that game.
Prime Minister: Virendra, it is great that you are not only a master in the world of sports but also a student. This in itself is a big deal. Your will-power really inspires everyone. Besides, I believe that both the players and the youth of the country can learn the art of consistency from you. It is difficult to reach the top in the first place, but it is even more difficult to maintain that position and still try to grow further. You have worked very hard to reach the peak. Your uncle and your father have constantly guided you and helped you. It is one thing to reach a position but to consistently keep that spot is nothing but your amazing strength! That is why the sports world will understand this and learn from you. I wish you all the very best! Thank you very much!
Prime Minister: Your name is Dhanush; but are you really into shooting?
Dhanush: Yes, I am into shooting.
Prime Minister: Tell me, Dhanush! Tell us about yourself!
Dhanush: Yes, I keep on practicing shooting. I had a great support of my family; at every stage they kept telling me to win. They encouraged me to come first. I have gone abroad four times to win and I am determined to win! I decide it beforehand that I have to be the first. I have to win the gold medal.
Prime Minister: Dhanush ji, what can you do to help the other students who want to move forward in this sport?
Dhanush: I would tell the kids that yes we can go ahead in this sports. We should keep trying. Consistent practice will help you get ahead. You should regularly practice running and stay fit. That's all I want to say sir.
Prime Minister: Do you practice yoga?
Dhanush: Yes, I have been practicing yoga for a long time.
Prime Minister: And do you meditate?
Dhanush: Yes I do, but not that much. Sometimes I do it to focus better.
Prime Minister: Do you know that meditation is very useful for shooting?
Dhanush: Yes, one has to be focused. We need to hit the centre with a single focus on the target at once.
Prime Minister: Well, tell me Dhanush. You have achieved so many accomplishments since a very young age. You have been to other countries. What is your biggest inspiration? Who inspires you?
Dhanush: I am very close to my mother. I love being with her. My father also supports me a lot and loves me. But earlier in 2017, when I used to be a little upset or depressed, my mother had supported me a lot! With constant efforts, when I started winning, I started feeling happier and that became the source of my inspiration.
PM – Dhanush first of all, I salute your mother and your family, especially your mother. As you described, she took care of you, encouraged you, helped you win battles and prepared you to stand up to every challenge. So really, you are very lucky. You told me that you tried to learn something new even in Khelo India. And today Khelo India has produced really good and talented players in the country. It has also helped many sports talents to go ahead. You recognized your potential. But I believe that your capabilities, Dhanush, are even greater and you will do even better. I wish you the very best.
Dhanush - Thank you very much.
Announcer - Ms. Priyesha Deshmukh - Shooting
Prime Minister - Well Priyesha, you are from Pune.
Priyesha - Actually I am from Maharashtra. My name is Priyesha Deshmukh. I have been practicing shooting for eight years. Before that I tried badminton and other sports but I lost. So I thought shooting is easy. So I joined shooting in 2014. After that there was a National Camp in 2014-15. There I won Category 7 Gold Medal and also a Silver Medal in the Open Category. My first World Championship was in Russia. I played International for the first time. So I was a little scared and nervous. But I had the blessings of my grandmother and my father had explained to me that since I was going for the first time nothing else mattered. I should go and play and give my best performance. I don't know what position I got then but when I was qualified the last time, I reached finals. Later when I entered finals, I won a medal.
Prime Minister - Well in 2017, you ranked sixth. This time you have won gold. This is no small accomplishment. So you are still not satisfied. You go on complaining to yourself.
Priyesha – No, I was not confident. I am still scared. But I have the blessings of my grandmother and father. Anjali Bhagwat is my guru, my coach and has taught me to do everything with a positive mindset. And recently at the second Olympics held in Brazil, I won a gold medal teaming with Dhanush. My grandmother is not in this world anymore. She passed away before the Olympics. She made me promise that we should return home winning medals. But despite her sudden death, I have managed to fulfil her dreams. So, I am feeling good about it.
Prime Minister - Look Priyesha, first of all I congratulate Anjali Bhagwat ji. She has worked so hard for you.
Priyesha - Thank you sir!
Prime Minister - Let me tell you. Your parents are really supportive of you but if the coach also works wholeheartedly for you, that is when I can see such a huge change in your performance. Well you are from Pune, and the people of Pune speak pure Marathi.
Priyesha - Yes I know I am Marathi.
Prime Minister - So how do you speak such wonderful Hindi?
Priyesha – I can speak Marathi and Hindi both but there is a problem. Marathi is my mother tongue. But I feel that I should not speak in just one language. I should know other languages too. I speak less in Marathi.
Prime Minister - I was also told that your grandmother had always encouraged you and had never let you get bogged down or upset. You have overcome many challenges and as I have been told you have tried to learn it in different ways. My heartiest congratulations to you! I wish you the very best. You will continue to inspire all.
Priyesha - Thank you!
Announcer – Jafreen Shaik – Tennis
Prime Minister - Namaste Jafreen.
Jafreen – I am Jafreen Shaik, Tennis Player. I have won Bronze Medal in deaflympics 2021. My father supports me a lot and works very hard. I have won a lot of medals in India. Thank You Narendra Modi ji, Prime Minister of India.
Prime Minister - Well Jafreen, you and Prithvi Shekhar, your pair has done a wonderful job. How did you both help each other in the court? How do you help each other?
Jafreen - We both support each other (Inaudible)
Prime Minister - Look, I am no tennis player. I have not had that luck, but it is said that tennis is such a sport that needs a lot of emphasis on technique. There is a lot of focus on technique. You have not only adopted this sport, but have also brought accolades to the country several times. How much effort did it take for you to absorb these things?
Jafreen – Sir, I worked very hard and have always worked very hard. We fought hard. (Inaudible)
Prime Minister - Well, in a way, you are not only synonymous with the power of the country's daughters but you are also an inspiration for the little girls. You have proved that if the daughter of India is determined to do something, then no obstacle can stop her. My best wishes to Jafreen. Heartiest congratulations to your father for working so hard for you and helping you reach this position today.
Jafreen - Sir, you support everyone. Kindly keep supporting always.
Prime Minister - I will.
Jafreen - Thank you sir, thank you!
Prime Minister - I will. I can say confidently that whatever you have achieved so far with your zeal and passion, you can go even further. Keep this vigour and your spirits high always! With this enthusiasm new avenues of victory will open up for the country. India's bright future will be built. And I believe that if someone brings glory to the country in the general sports world, people usually talk of sports ability and the sports culture. But if a 'Divyang', a person with physical disability, carves his/her niche in the world, the player doesn't just win a game, a medal but also enhances the image of that country. The world says, this country has similar sentiments and feelings towards the 'Divyang'. The nation worships this capability and power.
This is a great power. And because of this, wherever you go around the world, whenever someone sees this accomplishment of yours, your game, your skills and medals, at the back of their mind they would think - "well! This is the atmosphere in India. Everyone has equality, everyone gets opportunities". And that is how the image of the country builds up. That is, although a general player develops the image of the country, the country's image is painted several times better by you and your efforts. This in itself is something really big.
Heartiest congratulations to all of you once again for this glorious victory and to glorify the name of the country and to hoist the tricolour of India that too at a time when we are celebrating the 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav'!
Your family members, your parents, your coaches, the environment around you, everyone has contributed a lot in this endeavour. And so I congratulate all of them too.
All the players who took part in this global competition have set an unprecedented example of courage in front of the entire nation. There will be some people who may not have received the medal, but let's assume that the medal has seen you. Now that medal is waiting for you. Don't think you are far behind now. You will definitely achieve your goals, you will emerge victorious and those who have won will also become the source of your inspiration. And you have broken all the previous records in this game. You have broken all the records of India.
That's why I am proud of this team. I congratulate you. And you will be an inspiration in the 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav'. You will be an inspiration for every youngster in hoisting the tricolour of the country. With this expectation I extend my congratulations and invite you all to move forward.