Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday told Indian sportspersons competing in the Commonwealth Games at Birmingham this month that the next fortnight will provide them with a great opportunity to show their strenght and skills and make a mark in the world of sport.
PM Modi, who met the Commonwealth-bound India athletes virtually, also said that it would have been a pleasure for him to meet them personally, but given that they were training in different corners of the world along with their coaches, and with the Parliament session on, he was wishing them virtually.
“The next 10-15 days will be a great opportunity to showcase your strength and skills and make a make in the world of sport. It’s a golden opportunity,” said Modi, adding, “I wish every athlete competing in the Commonwealth Games and the Chess Olympiad.
“Many of you have competed in major international events and brought glory to the country. This time too you all are full of confidence and enthusiasm. For those, who have the experience of competing in the CWG before, it is another opportunity to test yourself again,” said Modi.
The PM added that those who were part of the Birmingham contingent for the first time, too must aim for leaving a lasting impression.
“The 65-odd athletes who are competing at the CWG for the first time, I am confident that they too will leave a lasting impression on the quadrennial event. Play with all your might; give it all you have and play without stress or tension.
“It would have been a pleasure if I could meet you all in person, but given the fact that you are training in various destinations across the world coupled with my busy schedule in Parliament, I am wishing you virtually,” added Modi.
The PM said that July 20 was an auspicious occasion from a sporting point of view.
“Today is July 20 and it is a very important day from the sporting point of view. Many of you would be aware that today is International Chess Day. In fact, July 28, the day the Commonwealth Games start in Birmingham, India will be hosting the Chess Olympiad in Tamil Nadu’s Mahabalipuram,” added Modi.
Speaking to 3000m steeplechaser Avinash Sable, who is part of the CWG contingent, Modi asked the athlete if his grounding in the Indian Army had helped him in such a gruelling race.
“I joined the forces in 2012. The four years of normal duty and nine months of hard training really steeled me for challenges ahead. When the Army gave me the opportunity pursue athletics, the training and my stint in the harsh Siachen glaciers helped me a lot in the sport,” said Sable, who hails from Maharashtra.
“Steeplechase is a game of obstacles, similarly army training too has crawling, nine-feet ditch obstacles etc. After the army stint, steeplechase look very easy,” Sable told Modi.
The PM was surprised with cyclist from Nicobar, David Beckham, not taking up football as a career.
“I wanted to play football, but it had no scope in Nicobar,” said Beckham, who is part of the Indian cycling contingent.
Modi expressed his sympathies with the young Beckham who lost his father in the tsunami of December 26, 2004 when he was just one year old. The cyclist also lost his mother and was brought up by family members.
“In 2018, I went to the tsunami memorial. I salute your family that despite so many hardships, they motivated you. Every citizen of India wishes you all the best,” said Modi to Beckham.