Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday interacted with the Indian contingent bound for the Commonwealth Games via video conferencing. The interaction was attended by both the athletes as well as their coaches. Sports minister Anurag Thakur was also present on the occasion.
The Prime Minister wished the Indian contingent for the Games, saying it was an auspicious day as it coincided with the International Chess Day. The Chess Olympiad will take place in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu from July 28, the day the Commonwealth Games begin.
The PM informed that more than 65 athletes were participating in the Commonwealth Games for the first time and he wished them to make a tremendous impact. He advised them to “play with all your heart, play hard, play with full force and without any stress”.
“You must have heard, ‘Kyu Pade Ho Chakkar Me Koi Nahi Hai Takkar Me’. Just play without any tension.”
During the interaction, the Prime Minister enquired from Avinash Sable, an athlete from Maharashtra, about his experience of coming from Maharashtra and serving the nation in Siachen.
He said that he got to learn a lot from his four-year stint in the Indian Army. He said the discipline and training he received from the Indian Army would help him shine in whichever field he would go.
The PM asked Sable why he chose steeplechase, to which he said that steeplechase is all about overcoming obstacles and he had received similar training in the Army. The PM further inquired about his experience of losing weight so fast.
Sable said the Army motivated him to join sports and he got extra time to train and this helped in losing weight.
The Prime Minister then went on to speak with Achinta Sheuli, a weightlifter in the 73kg category who hails from West Bengal and asked him how he manages to strike a balance between his peaceful nature and the power of weightlifting.
Achinta said that he has a regular yoga routine that helps him stay calm. The PM asked him about his family, to which Achinta replied that his mother and elder brother support him through all the highs and lows. The Prime Minister also enquired about how he deals with injury issues that are a part and parce of the sport.
Achinta replied that injuries are a part of the game and that he nurses them very carefully. He further added that he analyses his mistakes that lead to injuries and makes sure they are not repeated. The Prime Minister wished him luck and also praised his family, especially his mother and brother for making sure that all his needs were met when he took up the sport.
The Prime Minister interacted with Treesa Jolly, a badminton player from Kerala. He enquired how she chose badminton when Kannur is popular for football. She said that her father motivated her to take up the sport.
The Prime Minister interacted with Salima Tete, a hockey player from Jharkhand, and showed keen interest in her journey in the sport. She said that she was inspired seeing her father play hockey. Tete, a member of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics side, said she got motivated by interacting with the PM before the Tokyo Games.
The Prime Minister interacted with Sharmila, a para athlete in shot put from Haryana. The PM asked her about her inspiration in the sport at the age of 34 and going on to win gold in just two years’ time.
Sharmila said she had an interest in sports since childhood but due to the family’s financial condition she was married off at a young age, and had to face atrocities at the hands of her husband. She and her two daughters had to fall back on her parents’ support for six years. Her relative Tekchand Bhai, supported her and trained her for eight hours a day. The PM went on to ask about her daughters and said that she is a role model for the entire nation and not just for her daughters.
Addressing sportspersons after the interaction, the Prime Minister said he was not able to meet them in person due to him being preoccupied with Parliament despite wanting to do so. He promised them that he would meet them when they come back and their victory can be celebrated together.
“Today, the spirit of players is also high, the training too is getting better and the atmosphere in the country towards sports is also tremendous. All of you are climbing new peaks, making new peaks,” he said.
To those entering the big international arena for the first time, the Prime Minister said, “The goal is to see the tricolour fluttering, to hear the national anthem being played. That’s why don’t take pressure, make an impact with a good and strong game,” he added.
The Prime Minister remarked that the athletes are going to the Commonwealth Games at a time when the country is celebrating 75 years of independence and that the sportspersons will showcase their best performance which will be a gift to the country.
The interaction by the Prime Minister is a part of his contined endeavour to motivate athletes ahead of their participation in major sporting events. Last year, Modi interacted with the Indian contingent bound for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the Indian para-athletes’ contingent for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Even while the events were on, the Prime Minister took keen interest in the athletes’ progress. On several occasions, he personally rang up athletes to congratulate them on their success and sincere efforts, while motivating them to do better. Upon their return to the country, the Prime Minister also met and interacted with the contingent.
The CWG 2022 is scheduled to commence in Birmingham on July 28. A total of 215 athletes, participating in 141 events across 19 sporting disciplines, will represent India in the CWG 2022.