New Delhi: Felicitating the Incheon Asian Games medal winners over breakfast at his residence here on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that sportspersons bring pride to the country and should be mindful of their conduct.
The Prime Minister said no country could 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 brought global recognition for India.
Respect and pride
Similarly, a sportsperson’s achievements bring respect and pride for all Indians. A mistake by one sportsperson can bring a bad name to the country, the Prime Minister said.
Modi appreciated the efforts of boxing icon M.C. Mary Kom and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar in the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’ and said they had much greater visibility than a Prime Minister wielding the broom.
Modi suggested that top sportspersons who could speak well should deliver talks in universities as this would inspire the youth.
The Prime Minister urged the assembled sportspersons to feel free to give their suggestions to him and call on him personally if they had anything specific to talk about. He said they should consider him their ‘friend’.
Modi said he wanted to see India excel in sports and hoped that the enthusiastic and spirited athletes would bring good results for the country.
Referring to sports being part of Indian culture, the Prime Minister cited the instances of a stadium being discovered by archaeologists in Dholavira near Kutch and texts of Ramayana and Mahabharata stressing physical activity as part of education.
“But we have not geared ourselves up to compete globally so far,” he said, adding that the situation was slowly changing.
Modi said India was tying up with other countries for development of sports. He was happy that the corporate world was coming forward to promote sports.
Union Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the Prime Minister was always keen about the performance of the athletes and provided an additional grant of Rs. 450 crore, “which was unheard of in the past”.
Sonowal, however, admitted that India’s medal tally of 11 gold, 10 silver and 36 bronze in the Asian Games was “below our expectation”.
“This only shows that the competition in the international arena is getting tougher every day and we have to work harder. No athlete can rest on his laurels and we have to put extra effort to achieve excellence in sports,” said Sonowal.