Anchor: Respected Prime Minister, Hon’ble Ministers, Dr. P.T. Usha. Today, all the athletes participating in the Paris Olympics have come to interact with you. They are expecting guidance from you, Sir. Approximately, 98 people are connected online, Sir, because their training is ongoing abroad, and in other centres in the country. In the coming days, all of you will be leaving for Paris. I request Sir to please guide and encourage everyone. Thank you, Sir!

Prime Minister: Welcome to all of you! And welcome to those connected online as well. Friends, I won't take much of your time today because you are in the mood to leave and win. And I am in the mood to welcome you back after your victory. I always try to meet with the stars of our country's sports world, learn new things, understand their efforts, and make any necessary changes in the system from the government's side to support them. I aim for direct interaction to get first-hand information.

Sports have a nature similar to that of students. When a student goes to take an exam, he reassures the entire household not to worry as he will get a good rank. Once he comes out of the exam hall, he knows how he fared, whether he performed better or not. If he does not fare well, then as soon as he comes out of the exam hall, he starts giving excuses like the fan was too loud, the window was open and he could not concentrate, the teacher kept looking at him etc. etc. You must have seen such students who always have so many excuses and blame circumstances. Such people never progress in their life, becoming masters of making excuses and can’t make progress.

But I have seen many players and I also know some players who never blame circumstances. They always say, "That technique was new for me," or "I didn't anticipate the approach of my opponent. That could also have been a good approach.”

What I want to say friends is that we are going to play, aiming for our best performance. However, the Olympics are also a great platform for learning. There are some who play their game and inform everyone on telephone how their day was, while there are others who watch every game. They observe how our country is playing and how different countries are playing and try to absorb and understand new techniques. They then share these insights with their coaches how a particular player did a great job at the last moment. He asks his coach about that technique and sometimes reviews the videos of that match multiple times to learn new moves.

For those with a learning mindset, there are many opportunities to learn. For those who want to live in complaints, there is no shortage of complaints either. Even athletes from the most affluent countries with the best facilities might complain. But athletes from countries like ours, facing many difficulties and inconveniences, keep their hearts and minds focused on their mission for the country and the national flag, setting aside all hardships.

Therefore, friends, I firmly believe that this time as well, you will make Bharat proud in the field of sports. Who are those going to the Olympics for the first time? It seems there are more girls. There are more wrestlers too?

What are the first-timers thinking? I would like to hear what you are thinking. Anyone can share. Yes, please. You want to say something, right? Yes, please.

Player: I am very happy; I am going to the Olympics for the first time.

Prime Minister: Please introduce yourself.

Player: I am Ramita Jindal, and I am going to the Olympics in air rifle shooting for the first time. So, I am very excited because going to the Olympics has been my dream since I started sports. So, I am very excited and motivated to do something good for the country there.

Prime Minister: Where have you been training?

Ramita Jindal: I am from Haryana, but I train in Chennai.

Prime Minister: Is anyone else in your family associated with sports, or are you the first?

Ramita Jindal: No, I am the first.

Prime Minister: Otherwise, in Haryana, you find an athlete in every household. Sit down. Who else wants to share their experience of going for the first time? The girls can share a lot. Yes, give the mike to her. Let her speak.

Player: Sir, my name is Ritika (Sajdeh), and I am from Rohtak, Haryana. I am very happy; I am going for the first time. I am very excited to show my performance. The whole country will be watching me, and everyone is praying for me, and I will give my 100 per cent.

Prime Minister: Well done! Please go ahead, you seem hesitant, but your body language suggests you want to speak.

Player: My name is Antim Panghal. I wrestle in the 53 kg category. I am 19 years old, and I will be competing in the Olympics. I am very happy because so far in wrestling, only one medal has come from a girl, and that too a Bronze. I want to bring back an even better medal.

Prime Minister: Good! Who among you is under 18 years old? Anyone who is under 18? Yes, tell us about yourself.

Player: Hi, I am Dhinidhi Desinghu. I am 14 years old. I am from Kerala but generally represent Karnataka. I am really excited to go to the Olympics this year as part of Team India. It’s a great honour and privilege to be part of such an amazing team. I know this is just the start of my journey, and I have a long way to go and for all of us here. I hope we all make the country proud and come back with great achievements and lifelong goals.

Prime Minister: Wish you all the best.

Dhinidhi Desinghu: Thank you, Sir!

Prime Minister: Who among you has been to the Olympics more than three times? More than three times! Let's hear from them. Yes, go ahead. People from Jharkhand have special permission to speak freely.

Player: Namaste, Sir. My name is Deepika Kumari. I represent archery, and this is my fourth Olympics. I am very excited and have a lot of experience. I want to use that experience and represent with the same enthusiasm and confidence, giving my 200 per cent. Thank you, Sir.

Prime Minister: What message do you have for the new athletes going for the first time? The athletes who are going for the first time!

Deepika Kumari: Sir, I would say that excitement is very high, but I would tell them not to get lost in the glamour. They should focus on themselves as much as possible, enjoy the experience, but with full focus and self-confidence. I would say not to chase medals but to perform well. If they perform well then the medals will follow.

Prime Minister: You have been to the Olympics three times. The first time you went, you must have learned something and practiced it afterward. The second time, you learned something else. Can you share what new things you adopted that increased your confidence and made you feel you could contribute to the country? Or did you stick to the same routine practices? I have seen that many people, like myself, who are used to doing yoga, tend to start the same way each time. Sometimes I consciously try new things, I drop two yoga poses and try two new ones. Everyone gets into a habit and keeps doing it the same way. And he thinks he has done it. What is your situation?

Deepika Kumari: Sir, we continue with the good habits, and if we lose a match, we learn from it and practice not to repeat the same mistakes during our practice sessions. We keep on repeating to avoid mistakes so that good habits become part of our routine and try to continue those.

Prime Minister: Sometimes bad habits also become part of our routine.

Deepika Kumari: Sir, it happens. Often, bad habits do creep in. But we talk to ourselves and remind ourselves how to convert those into good habits.

Prime Minister: Okay! Who else has been to the Olympics three times?

Player: Namaste, Sir. I am Poovamma M R from athletics. In 2008, when I went to the Olympics, I was 18 years old and was a reserve, Sir. In 2016, we crashed out of (the 4x400m relay quartets). In 2020, we did not make it to the finals. This time, we want to create a national record and make it to the finals.

Prime Minister: This shows confidence. Thank you. Wish you all the best. Those connected online, if you want to share your experience, it will be good for all the athletes. Who wants to share? Raise your hand and start.

Player: Namaste, Sir.

Prime Minister: Namaste.

Player: I am P.V. Sindhu. Sir, this will be my third Olympics. In the first Olympics in 2016, I brought home a silver medal. In 2020 Tokyo, I brought home a bronze medal. This time, I hope to change the colour and come back with a gold medal. Obviously, I am going with a lot of experience, but it will not be easy. I will try my best and hope for another medal, Sir.

Prime Minister: What would you like to say to the new athletes?

P.V. Sindhu: Firstly, I would like to wish them all the very best. Many people think that the Olympics bring a lot of pressure and excitement, especially for those experiencing it for the first time. But I just want to say that it is like any other tournament. We just need to focus and believe in ourselves that we can do it. Everyone is working hard, so I wish them to give their 100 per cent. Don't think of it as a different tournament or that it will be hard. It is like any other tournament. Just focus on performing well and give your 100 per cent. Thank you, Sir.

Prime Minister: Is there anyone else who would like to speak?

Player: Namaste, Sir. I am Priyanka Goswami.

Prime Minister: Namaste. Where is your Lord Krishna idol?

Priyanka Goswami: Sir, he is with me here in Switzerland.

Prime Minister: Are you taking Lord Krishna idol to the Olympics again?

Priyanka Goswami: Yes Sir, this will be his second Olympics as well. Firstly, congratulations Sir on becoming Prime Minister for the third time. It’s a pleasure for us athletes to talk to you again. Sir, this is my second Olympics, and I have been training in Australia for three months under government support and currently I am training in Switzerland under the TOPS scheme. We are receiving a lot of support from the government, training abroad. I hope all the players will give their best at the Olympics and bring back as many medals as possible.

Prime Minister: You used to complain that no one watches your sport. During practice abroad, did you have spectators?

Priyanka Goswami: Yes, Sir. Abroad, this sport is given as much importance as other sports. Back home, it was a bit less, but since you have been encouraging people to watch all sports and speak about every athlete, now more people in our country are also watching this sport. This gives us motivation as well as support to perform well, knowing that people are watching our events. I have to do better this time.

Prime Minister: Well, many congratulations to you. Who else would like to speak?

Player: Namaste, Sir. I am Nikhat Zareen, and I am representing India in boxing in the 50 kg category at the Olympics. This is my first Olympics, and I am very excited. At the same time, I am keeping myself focused. The entire country has expectations from me, and I want to meet those expectations and return by making my country proud.

Prime Minister: Best wishes to you. Neeraj was saying something.

Neeraj Chopra: Namaste, Sir!

Prime Minister: Namaste, brother.

Neeraj Chopra: How are you, Sir?

Prime Minister: I am the same. Your churma has not arrived yet.

Neeraj Chopra: Sir, I will bring churma this time. Last time it was with sugar from Delhi. This time it will be with desi ghee from Haryana.

Prime Minister: I have to eat that one. I want to eat churma made by your mother.

Neeraj Chopra: Sure, Sir.

Prime Minister: Please go ahead.

Neeraj Chopra: Sir, we are currently in Germany, and the training is going very well. I have participated in fewer competitions this time because I was having a recurring injury. But now it’s much better. Recently, I competed in Finland, and it went well. We have one month left for the Olympics, and the training is going great. We are trying to be fully fit for Paris and give our 100 per cent for our country because this opportunity comes once in four years. I would like to tell all the athletes that they should dig deep within themselves to find what will help them give their best. My first Olympics was in Tokyo, and it was a great result, winning gold for the country. I believe it was because I played fearlessly and had a lot of belief in myself due to excellent training. I would tell all the athletes to play the same way, without fear, because those competing are also human. Sometimes we think that Europeans or athletes from the US or other countries are stronger, but if we recognize our hard work and we are away so far away from our homes, anything is possible.

Prime Minister: You've given some excellent tips to everyone. I thank you and wish you good health. No new injuries in the next month, brother.

Neeraj Chopra: Absolutely, Sir. That’s what we are trying for.

Prime Minister: See friends, there are a few important things that have come out of our discussion. Listening to experienced people has its own significance. As mentioned earlier, don't get lost in the glamour and distractions of the event there. That's very true. Otherwise, it can affect our focus. Secondly, God has given us a certain stature, and often, the athletes from other countries may appear taller or bigger. But remember, this is not a game of physical size. It’s a game of skill and talent. Do not be intimidated by the physical appearance of the competitors. You should have confidence in your own talent. No matter how imposing the opponent looks, believe in your own abilities. Skill and talent are what bring results. You might have noticed that many people know a lot but still falter during examinations. This often happens because their focus is divided. They are more worried about the outcome, like what their family will say if they don’t do well. What will the family members say if I don’t get good scores? He remains under pressure thinking about marks. You should not worry about such things. Just play your best. Whether you win a medal or not, don’t let that pressure get to you. Your attitude should be to give your 100% without any compromise.

Another important aspect is the importance of sleep. Your coaches and physiologists must have emphasized this. In sports, as much as practice and consistency are important, so is getting proper sleep. Sometimes, the night before a match, you may find it hard to sleep due to excitement. Lack of sleep can harm your performance more than anything else. You might think, what kind of Prime Minister is this who is telling us to sleep well? But I insist that good sleep is crucial for athletes, and for everyone, really. Modern medical science also emphasizes the importance of sleep quality and duration. So, no matter how excited you are, make sure to get proper sleep. You all work very hard, so naturally, you fall into a deep sleep because of physical exhaustion. But there’s a difference between sleep induced by physical tiredness and sleep that is free from worries. Therefore, I urge you not to compromise on sleep. That’s also why we send you early to acclimatize, avoid the problem of jet lag so you can feel comfortable and adjust to the time difference before competing. That’s why the government provides you this facility. This time too, we have made new efforts to ensure your comfort. But I can’t say for sure whether everything will be comfortable or not, but we have made sincere efforts. We are also engaging the Indian community there to support you. They may not be able to be very close due to certain disciplines, but they will be there to care for and support you. They take full care of the players whose events are over. The government tries to ensure that you are comfortable, face no inconvenience and can perform well.

I extend my best wishes to all of you. I look forward to seeing you again when the games will be over on August 11. Some of you will depart early. But I will try my best so that you can join the Independence Day celebrations on August 15th at the Red Fort. The entire country will watch you who have gone to play in the Olympics. It's a proud moment to participate in the Olympics, and it adds more pride if you bring home a medal. Those who came through Khelo India, how many of you are there? Quite a few, I see. Tell us about your sport and your experience.

Player: Sir, my name is Arjun. I came through the Khelo India initiative and I play badminton. The initiative has been a great support for young athletes like me, providing resources and training facilities.

Prime Minister: That's wonderful, Arjun. Your journey from Khelo India to the Olympics is inspiring. Keep up the hard work and make the nation proud.

Player: Hello Sir, I am Sift, and I am into shooting. Khelo India has helped me a lot. Because after training in Delhi and joining that scheme, the results I have achieved are due to Khelo India.

Prime Minister: Good, it’s a great start.

Sift: Yes Sir.

Prime Minister: And you?

Player: Namaste Sir, my name is Manu Bhaker. I will represent India in shooting at the next Olympics. In 2018, during the first edition of the Khelo India School Games, I won a gold medal with a national record. From there, I joined the core group of TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme). Since then, my goal has been to earn the Indian jersey and play for India. Khelo India provided a platform that guided many people. I see many athletes from Khelo India in my team now, playing with me and even juniors who have come from Khelo India. It was a big step to be supported by TOPS since 2018, and I am very grateful for their support. They solve small problems faced by athletes, which has played a major role in my journey. Thanks to Khelo India and TOPS, I am here today. Thank you, Sir.

Prime Minister: Great, best wishes to you. Is there anyone else who wants to say something? Please share.

Player: Namaskar, Sir! I am Harmanpreet Singh from the hockey team. Last time, we won the Bronze Medal at the Olympics after 41 years. It was a proud moment for us because of hockey's rich history. We are making a strong effort this time, and should I talk about facilities.

Prime Minister: Everyone is watching your team.

Harmanpreet Singh: Regarding facilities, we stay at the Bungalow SAI, where we receive some of the best facilities. You mentioned recovery and sleep, and we get excellent food and recovery resources there. We are working very hard this time, and our team is strong. We hope to perform even better and win a medal for the country, Sir.

Prime Minister: Perhaps hockey is the sport under the most pressure in our country because everyone believes it’s our game, and how come we lagged behind in this sport. Hockey players face the most pressure because every child believes this is our game, and we can’t lose. In other sports, people might say our athletes tried, but in hockey, there is no compromise. Therefore, you have to work even harder. My best wishes are with you, and I am confident you will succeed.

Harmanpreet Singh: Thank you, Sir.

Prime Minister: I would say this is an opportunity to do something for the country. You have reached this position through your hard work. Now, it’s time to give back to the country by giving your best on the field. Those who give their best in the field bring glory to the country. I am confident that our team will break all past records this time. Bharat aims to host the Olympics in 2036. This creates a big environment for us and we are making efforts in that direction, and preparations are underway. The progress in preparations may be slow. Experts are working on what is needed in terms of infrastructure. The Olympics is being held in different cities of France this time and one of the events will be held at a faraway island. If you have an interest, observe the arrangements in France during the Olympics and note down any gaps or improvements. Any input from the players will help us immensely in preparing for 2036. Best wishes to all of you. Thank you.

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