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135 crore people backing you, PM Modi tells Tokyo bound Indian Olympic contingent

These wishes of 135 crore Indians are the blessings of the country for all of you before entering the field of sports, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his interaction with country's top sportspersons on Tuesday (Image courtesy: PIB)

In a bid to motivate the sportspersons bound for Tokyo Olympics during the challenging Covid times, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today interacted with the Indian contingent and their families via video conference, assuring them that the entire country is behind them and the blessings of all the countrymen are with them.

In an informal and spontaneous interaction, PM Modi regretted that he could not host the athletes due to the pandemic, saying that the deadly virus has not only affected the athletes' practice sessions but has also changed the year of the Olympics.

The PM congratulated archer Deepika Kumari for the recent gold medal in the World Championship. He mentioned that her journey began with plucking mangoes. He also lauded another archer Pravin Jadhav for staying on the path despite difficult circumstances, interacting with his family in Marathi.

Talking to javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, the Prime Minister inquired about the athlete’s experience with the Indian Army and also his recovery from injury. He asked the athlete to give his best without getting bogged down by the weight of expectations.

In his chat with sprinter Dutee Chand, PM Modi said that, just like her name which means brightness, Dutee is spreading the light through her sporting skills. The Prime Minister asked her to forge ahead fearlessly as the entire India is behind the athletes.

He then asked boxer Ashish Kumar on how he fought with both Covid-19 and also trained at the same time despite the loss of his father during the same time. Kumar recalled the support network of family and friends in the process of recovery. PM Modi mentioned about the time when cricketer Sachin Tendulkar had lost his father in similar circumstances.

Saying that she is a huge role model for many sportspersons, PM Modi wished good luck to boxer Mary Kom and also enquired how she was able to take care of her family and continue with her sport, especially during the pandemic.

The PM asked shuttler PV Sindhu about her practice in Gachibowli, Hyderabad and also spoke on the importance of diet during the tough training schedule. He asked her parents for advice and tips they want to give to parents who want to make their children a sportsperson.

Wishing the athlete success in the Olympics, the Prime Minister said that he too will have an ice-cream with her when he will welcome the athletes on their return.

The Prime Minister asked shooter Elavenil Valarivan why she got interested in the sport. On a personal note, the PM talked to the shooter who was raised in Ahmedabad, in Gujarati and greeted her parents in Tamil, recalling her early years as he was MLA from her area Mani Nagar. He enquired how she balances both her studies and sports training.

The PM also spoke to another shooter, Saurabh Chaudhary on how yoga has helped in improving his  concentration and mental poise. He asked veteran paddler Sharath Kamal about the difference between previous and this Olympics and learnt about the impact of pandemic on the sportspersons.

He also spoke to another table-tennis ace Manika Batra and was full of praise for her for training poor children. He asked whether her passion for dancing acts as a stress buster.

In his talk with wrestler Vinesh Phogat, the PM wanted to know on how she copes up with the heightened expectations due to her family legacy. Referring to her challenges, the PM asked how she dealt with them. He also talked to her father and asked about the ways of grooming such illustrious daughters.

PM Modi enquired from swimmer Sajan Prakash about his grave injury and how he overcame it and recalled the contribution of legends like Major Dhyan Chand during this chat with hockey player Manpreet Singh.

In his interaction with tennis player Saina Mirza, the Prime Minister remarked about the increasing popularity of sport and asked for her advice to budding players.

The PM recalled his Mann ki Baat address when he exhorted the citizens to cheer for their sportspersons in the Olympics. He noted the popularity of the Cheer4India campaign and informed that people can login to the NaMo app and wish good luck to the sportspersons.

"These wishes of 135 crore Indians are the blessings of the country for all of you before entering the field of sports," said the Prime Minister.

The PM said that all the athletes are a witness to how the country is standing with each of its players today with a new thinking and a new approach.

He said that efforts were made for the players to have better training camps and better equipment. The PM said that campaigns like 'Fit India' and 'Khelo India' have contributed immensely in building future talent for the country.

Anurag Thakur, Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports; Nisith Pramanik, MoS Youth Affairs and Sports and Law Minister Kiren Rijiju were also present on the occasion.