PM Modi wishes Indian athletes luck ahead of Tokyo Olympics

Among others, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to M. C. Mary Kom, P. V, Sindhu, Saurabh Chaudhary, Elavenil Valarivan and Sharath Kamal during a virtual interactive session.

"Don't be bogged down by expectations, just give your best," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during the interaction.   -  AP

It was the ultimate blessing on behalf of the nation and a bountiful inspiration for the Olympics bound Indian athletes, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi goaded them to play free without the pressure of winning, and do their best wholeheartedly and with all the intensity of their mind.

In a remarkable interaction that spanned more than an hour, with 15 athletes and their family members, cutting across various disciplines, starting with world No.1 archer Deepika Kumari and ending with tennis ace Sania Mirza, the Prime Minister revealed his knowledge of their background, their journey and achievements.

The fluent manner in which he posed questions to each one of them, in so many different ways, getting the best out of the athletes, would have made any professional sports presenter proud.

He touched the hearts of the athletes, and commended the family members, for giving sports the priority in their lives.

Quite sharp right through the conversations, the Prime Minister started in Gujarati with rifle shooter Elavenil Valarivan and ended with a Tamil ‘’Vanakkam’’ to her parents.

Deepika assured that she was focused on training and giving her best performance in Tokyo.

The Prime Minister was inspired by archer Pravin Kumar Jakhar who said that if he did not train well, he may have had to do labour work like his father.

‘’I thought it better to put my effort in training to perform better’’, said Pravin Kumar.

Neeraj Chopra said that he was determined to overcome the hurdles, in terms of injury and the pandemic situation, and prepare to throw the javelin the farthest in the Olympics.

Sprinter Dutee Chand talked about inspiring girls and women with her example for a better life.

Boxer Ashish Kumar said that he was grateful to coach Dharmendra Singh Yadav for training and supporting him at a crucial stage.

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The Prime Minister appreciated Ashish for overcoming the death of his father to stay focused on his training, and gave the example of Sachin Tendulkar.

‘’Your example is inspirational. On the Olympic platform you will do well’’, the prime minister expressed confidence to Ashish.

Six-time World Champion and Olympic medallist boxer Mary Kom said that as a southpaw she preferred the hook to stun her opponents, and that Muhammad Ali was her idol, and ‘’Olympic gold’’ her dream.

The prime minister talked to Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu about her training in a full fledged stadium at Gachibowli, and recalled how coach Gopichand had kept her phone away and not allowed her any ice cream during Rio Games.

‘’Some times I eat ice cream’’, said Sindhu with a smile, and the prime minister promised to have ice cream with her, when she returned from Tokyo. He congratulated her parents for making a world champion.

The generally quiet pistol shooter Saurabh Chaudhary warmed up to the conversation with the prime minister in recalling his rapid rise from a village to world standards.

‘’You are very focused. You have a long journey. You will do very well’’, the prime minister told Saurabh.

The conversation was equally entertaining and inspirational as the prime minister talked to table tennis stars Sharath Kamal, Manika Batra, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, swimmer Sajan Prakash and hockey captain Manpreet Singh.

The Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, former sports minister Kiren Rijiju, and the president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Narinder Batra were present among others in the virtual interaction.

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