Prime Minister Narendra Modi felicitated the medal winners of the 17th Asian Games, saying a sportsperson’s achievements brings respect and pride for all Indians.
“No country can progress without self-respect and pride. When Mangalyaan successfully reached Mars, it was the achievement of the scientists, but a matter of pride for all Indians, and it brought global recognition for India,” he said.
“Similarly, a sportsperson’s achievements bring respect and pride for all Indians.”
Congratulating the medal winners, Modi said he has “great enthusiasm to see India excel in sports”.
He expressed hope that the combination of his enthusiasm and the spirit of sportspersons would bring good results for the nation.
Adding that India had a long history of sports, and a sports stadium had been discovered in the archaeological site of Dholavira near Kutch, he said: “But we have not geared ourselves up to compete globally, so far.
“This situation is slowly changing now as states focus on specific sports, and setting up sports universities.”
He said India was tying up with other countries to develop sports.
Asking sportspersons to consider him their friend, Modi urged them to “feel free to give their suggestions to him, and to call on him personally if they have anything specific to talk about”.
However, he urged them to be cautious about their conduct. “A mistake by one sportsperson can bring bad name to the country.”
While appreciating the efforts of boxer Mary Kom and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar vis-a-vis the Clean India Campaign, he said: “These had much greater visibility than a prime minister wielding the broom… Sportspersons do as much for the country as political leaders.”
He suggested that award winning sportspersons who can speak well should deliver talks at universities. “This will prove inspirational for youths.”