As the ‘Olympic Fever’ grips the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off ‘Run for Rio’ event at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday morning, to cheer for the largest ever Indian contingent of athletes at the multi-sporting spectacle that starts in Brazil August 5.
As many as 20,000 schoolchildren participated in the Run for Rio from Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium till Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Updates from the event as it happened:
■ 7.45am: Preparations on for the Run for Rio event. Thousands of students wave tricolour.
PM Narendra Modi to flag off 'Run for Rio' in Delhi's Major Dhyanchand National Stadium, shortly. pic.twitter.com/BukShXpfXD— ANI (@ANI_news) July 31, 2016
■ 8.00am: Modi arrives at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium
Sports minister Vijay Goel welcomes PM Modi at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
■ 8.05am: PM Modi speaks at the flag off of Run for Rio event: “Every player has worked hard to get here. They will surely give their best,” he says.
■ 8.10am: “I appeal to all the districts in India to prepare at least athlete for the next time. This time 119 are going, we resolve to send over 200 athletes to Tokyo in 2020.”
■ 8.20am: “I appeal to all the Indian youth to prepare for the next big thing. Prepare for Tokyo 2020.”
■ 8.22am: “You’ll find athletes from all over the world there. But here from India, over 1.25 billion people would be watching for you, cheering you. Make them proud,” PM Modi wishes luck to Rio-bound Indian contingent.
PM Modi flags off Run for Rio. Over 20,000 participants are running from the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium till the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to cheer for the Indian contingent in Rio Games.
Last week sports minister Vijay Goel had said, “When I talked to Prime Minister Modi about this idea, he said he will come and flag off this run. Thousands of people will join the run to give their support to the Olympic athletes.”
“The objective of the run is to not only demonstrate to the athletes that the whole country is proud of them and wishes them all the best in the forthcoming Rio Olympics competitions, but also to connect public at large, especially children and youth, with the Olympic spirit and power of sports,” Goel said on Saturday.
PM Modi will also release a publication of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Indian Olympics Journey, an info-guide on country’s Olympics achievements and plans for the future.
To pump up the Olympic fervour in the country, similar runs will be held in the SAI’s regional centres at Sonepat, Kolkata, Bhopal, Gandhinagar and Thiruvananthapuram.
Besides this, giant screens will also be put up at the New Delhi’s Central Park starting August 1, along with an exhibition on Rio-bound Athletes.
“A big screen will be placed below the flag at the Central Park along with an exhibition in which there will be posters and cutouts of Olympians like Vijender Singh and others. This will create a carnival-type scenario,” said Goel, who is supervising the event.
The sports ministry has also planned for a Food Park at Kharak Singh Marg in the Capital, in collaboration with NDMC to coincide with the Rio Games inaugural.