President Patil praises cricket, hockey teams
President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday lauded the efforts of the Indian cricket, hockey and football teams at a reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan and hoped their recent triumphs would rub off on other sports as well.
"Your performance has delighted the nation. Not only me but the whole nation is proud of you," Patil told the cricket and hockey teams, before personally meeting them over high tea.
"In light of the recent victories, I hope the other sports will also bring laurels -- and not just a select few," she said, addressing the two teams at the imposing Durbar Hall of Rashstrapati Bhawan.
Patil had invited the teams to honour them for their triumphs in recent months.
The Bhaichung Bhutia-led football team defeated Syria 1-0 in the final to lift the Nehru Cup in Delhi Aug 29.
The team was, however, absent at the reception since it is in Goa for a 2010 World Cup qualifying match against Lebanon scheduled later Tuesday.
All India Football Federation president Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi represented the team at the simple but impressive function.
The hockey team, led by Prabodh Tirkey, won the Asia Cup beating South Korea 7-2 in the final in Chennai Sep 9.
And Mahendra Singh Dhoni's side beat Pakistan in the final to clinch the Twenty20 World Championship in cricket in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sep 24.
"I congratulate all three teams for their hard work," she said as the players of the two teams, dressed in navy blue blazers and ties, listened in rapt attention.
Patil also mentioned the achievement of Viswanathan Anand, who was recently crowned the undisputed world chess champion. Anand had called on her Oct 16 along with his wife.
After her short speech, Patil met the players and officials of the two teams individually over high tea in the same hall where she had greeted the country's top sportspersons after presenting them the Arjuna and other awards Aug 29.
Earlier in the day, the cricket team also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.