First US President Obama, then Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and now the Asian Games medal winners; Prime Minister Modi’s calendar seems to be jam-packed!
On Tuesday, he felicitated the medal winners of the Incheon Asian Games over a breakfast meeting at his residence. He individually met and congratulated each one of them, perhaps making their day, for many said that it was one of the best moments of their lives. The athletes held this meeting right up there, with their Asian Games medals, if not any higher.
Among the attendees were:
- International tennis star Sania Mirza
- Boxer M C Mary Kom
- Wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt
- The Indian Hockey team, which has already qualified for the Olympics
- Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Sarbanda Sonowal
THIS IS WHAT MODI SAID:
- He announced the allocation of an additional grant of Rs 450 crore for the development of sports in the country, and to provide Indian athletes with better training facilities to prepare for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Winning an Olympic Gold is the common dream of all sportsmen all over the world and hopefully Indians will shine in Rio. The Government of India will not leave any stone unturned.
- He said that sportspeople do as much for the country as political leaders do. He emphasized on his admiration for the combination of spirit and enthusiasm, which has been the winning factor for the athletes at the Games. He congratulated them and discussed his dream to see India excel in sports even further and become a force to be reckoned with.
- He mentioned that the successful launch of the Mangalyaan by Indian scientists made the entire country proud and similarly so do sportspeople when they represent their country in international games. He encouraged them to perform better and better as their achievements bring India global recognition. The achievement of one athlete swells the chest of the 1.2 billion Indians in the country and when the National Anthem plays, they all sing with their head held high.
- He said to the athletes, “I am your friend, call me if you have anything to talk about.” A wonderful gesture, straight from the PMO!
Whenever Narendra Modi starts speaking, the nation is sold. With these brilliant oratory skills, for the athletes, it was truly an inspirational session. Although athletes are used to motivational speeches, this wasn’t just one of them, it was more, much more.
HERE IS WHAT SOME OF THE ATHLETES HAD TO SAY:
“It was a once in a lifetime experience for me. It is not everyday that you get to meet the Prime Minister. There was a lot of hype but he came across as a very simple person. I would say it was the highlight of my career, may be more than winning the Commonwealth Games gold medal,” squash player Joshna Chinappa said. She won the team silver.
Shooter Jitu Rai said, “His words were very motivating. He told us that we will be offered all the help and our needs will be taken care of.”
Modi had also thanked athletes Mary Kom and Sachin Tendulkar for all their efforts made in the “Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan”. Even Sania Mirza has become a part of this campaign and has further nominated more people in a chain reaction.
MODI MEETS TENDULKAR
On the following Thursday, PM Modi met legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar for his contribution to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan.
Modi had last week complimented Tendulkar after he took up broomsticks, to collect garbage from a filthy locality in Mumbai, along with his friends. Tendulkar also extended the chain of this campaign by personally inviting more people to be a part of it and he also urged all sportsmen to play their part. He expressed the idea of his adopting a village under the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana.
When renowned personalities join such movements, it directly increases the impact and reach. As though he has not done enough for the country already, Tendulkar extended his support to all such campaigns in the future as well!
The highlight of Tuesday’s ceremony was not the 450 crore allocation, but the simple gesture made by the Prime Minister, telling athletes that he is their friend and they can call him if they want to talk about anything.
This is a shout out to all Indian athletes, for when they want to talk to someone: “Abki baar, Modi ko pukaar!”