Modi: India will also win hearts with their conduct in Rio

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday wished luck to the Rio-bound Indian contingent and exuded confidence that they will not only clinch medals, but also win hearts with their conduct during the Olympic Games starting on August 5.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off 'Run for Rio' event on Sunday to cheer for the largest ever Indian contingent participating at Olympic Games in Rio.   -  PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday wished luck to the Rio-bound Indian contingent and exuded confidence that they will not only clinch medals, but also win hearts with their conduct during the Olympic Games starting on August 5.

Modi on Sunday flagged off 'Run for Rio' event at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium to cheer for the largest ever Indian contingent participating at the multi-sport event in Rio. Thousands of school children, wearing masks of Rio-bound Olympians, participated in the 'Run for Rio' from Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

"Wherever our athletes go, India is visible not only on the ground but in their conduct as well. I am confident that these players will win hearts with their behaviour during the Games. They will introduce the great Indian heritage to the world," he said.

"I want to convey this to the members of Indian contingent that there will be many athletes from all over the world but there are 125 crore Indians standing behind you. When we will hoist the tri-colour here on the occasion of 70th Independence Day, I am sure that our national flag will also be hoisted in Rio during this period," said Modi.

He also urged the youth to work hard for 2020 Olympics and said the focus should be on sending more than 200-member contingent to Tokyo.

"This time we did not get enough time as we came to power 2 years back only. Next Olympics will be held in Tokyo in 2020 and I appeal to the youth to prepare hard from now onwards targeting Tokyo. We must take a pledge to send more than 200 athletes to 2020 Olympics," Modi said.

"They have the talent, determination and big dreams. I promise that our government will provide them every possible support in next four years. We must focus on qualifying in events where India have never made their presence felt."

Prime Minister also said that the success should not be measured in terms of wins and losses in sports.

"119 players have worked really hard and gone through rigorous training to be part of this biggest sporting event. They play for the pride of nation and it is their biggest test. I am confident that with the prayers of 125 crore countrymen, our 119 players will leave no stone unturned to keep the tricolour flying," he said.

Modi also outlined his government's efforts for the preparation of Rio Olympics and said that now the focus will be on Tokyo.

"We have been associated with Olympic for more than a century but for the first time we have sent 119 members contingent to Rio which is our biggest till date. We have made many changes in short span of time and you can have an idea about our preparation for Tokyo," he said.

"Earlier our players used to reach the venue two days ahead of the Games and it was always a daunting task for them to get acclimatized but this time we have sent them 15 days before the Games. We also provided a special budget to provide Indian food to our athletes there," said Modi.

He said that his government took criticism as opportunity and changed the earlier practices.

"Earlier bureaucrats accompanying the contingents used to get 100 dollors per day allowance while players were getting half of it. For the first time they will also get the same amount. We provide them the facility to train wherever they want and with their choice of coaches.

"We have spent 30 lakhs to one and a half crore per player on the training. Earlier Olympic budget was used to be around 15 to 20 Crore but this time it has been exceeded up to 125 crore," he said.

Modi also wished luck to the hosts Rio de Jeneiro for a successful Games.

"I convey my best wishes to Rio, all the participant countries and players from our countrymen. I am sure that this Games, with the moto of spreading the message of brotherhood, will be highly successful," said the Prime Minister.

"Sport is the necessity of life and internationally it is essential for each the nation. Come lets play and blossom," he added.

Sports Minister Vijay Goel said that their aim is to spread sports to each and every village and develop other sports as well.

"We are hosting BRICS football and Under-17 World Cup. We are soon going to open 8 new sports academies. I wish luck to all the members of Rio contingent from the Indian government," Goel said.

Modi also released a brochure on India's history in Olympics with information about our players taking part in Rio Games.