Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday expressed confidence in the country’s Rio Olympics-bound contingent, saying, “Our athletes will show the world what India is about.” The games begin August 5
“Contestants from all over the world will be there. But eyes of over 1.25 billion Indians will be on you,” the PM said in his message to the athletes while flagging off ‘Run for Rio’ event at the city’s Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
Indian squad has already left for Olympics.
“Our athletes will win the hearts of the world and will show the world what India is about, I am sure about it,” he said.
The Prime Minister’s message comes at a time when two of India’s players have tested positive for banned substances, virtually ruling them out of the games and dealing a blow to the country’s medal hopes.
India has barely registered its presence at the world’s biggest sporting event and Modi wants it to change. “There are over 600 districts in the country. When the 2020 games take place, let every district affirm that one athlete from our district will represent India at those games,” he said.
Watch | PM Modi Flags Off Run For Rio at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium
“Sports cannot be evaluated in loss or win. These athletes headed to Rio are not playing for themselves but for the pride of the nation, which is the biggest challenge.”
With 119 players, India has sent its biggest ever contingent to an Olympic.
“Every player has worked hard to get here. They will surely give their best. This time they are 119. Let us resolve to send more than 200 to Tokyo the next time,” he said. The Japanese capital will be the host city for the 2020 games.
The government, he said, had sent the contingent 15 days in advance to help them familiarise with the conditions. “Two years ago, we started to study the reasons why our sportspersons were criticised so that we had enough time to work on them,” he said.
The games gave a message of brotherhood. “Sports is a necessity. Khelo aur khilo. Let everyone play and shine,” he said.
(With inputs from ANI)