PM Modi interacts with Indian para-athlete contingent ahead of Tokyo Paralympic Games

New Delhi, Aug 17 (FN Agency) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday virtually interacted with the Indian para-athlete contingent, who will represent the country in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, scheduled be held between August 24 and September 5. During the interaction, the PM lauded the para-athletes for their self confidence and will power. He credited their hard work and said he is hopeful that India will create a new history at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. Modi also mentioned that today’s new India does not put pressure for medals on the athletes but expects them to give their best.

Referring to the recent Olympics, the he said that country is firmly with the athletes in their efforts whether they win or miss. While discussing the importance of mental strength along with the physical strength in the field, the Prime Minister praised the para athletes for overcoming their circumstances and moving forward despite them. Notably, three sessions were conducted through workshop and seminars on sports psychology for the Indian contingent keeping in mind the issues like lack of exposure and stress of new place, new people and international settings. India is sending their biggest ever contingent to the Paralympic Games. 54 para athletes from across 9 sports disciplines will be heading to Tokyo to represent the nation. The Prime Minister told the athletes that they strengthen the spirit of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat’ irrespective of sports they represent. ‘Whatever state, region you belong to, whatever language you speak, above all this, today you are ‘Team India. This spirit should permeate every part of our society at every level,’ he stressed.

He further also talked about the talent present in the remote areas of the country. ‘… our villages and remote areas are full of talent and the contingent of para athletes is a living example of that. We have to think of our youth and ensure that they should get all the resources and facilities,’ he said. There are many young players in these areas with capabilities to win medals. Today the country is trying to reach them, special attention is being paid to the rural areas,’ he added. Modi informed that for recognizing local talents, 360 Khelo India Centres have been established and this number will be increased to 1000 centres soon. ‘Equipment, grounds and other resources and infrastructure are being made available to the sportspersons. The country is helping its sportspersons with an open heart. The country provided necessary facilities and targets through ‘Target Olympic Podium Scheme’, said the Prime Minister. Modi also emphasized that ‘We have to keep on improving our ways and system to develop sports culture in India’. He pointed out that traditional sports are getting a new identity along with the promotion of international sports.

He mentioned establishment of Sports University in Imphal, Manipur, status of sports in the New National Education Policy and Khelo India Movement as key steps in that direction. Modi said that earlier, giving facilities to Divyang Jan was treated as welfare, today the country is working for this as part of its responsibility. That is why, the Parliament enacted a law like ‘The Rights for Persons with Disabilities Act to provide comprehensive security to the Divyang Jan. ‘Sugamya Bharat Campaign is the biggest example of this new thinking. Today hundreds of government building, railway stations, train coaches, domestic airports and other infrastructure are being made Divyang friendly,’ the Prime Minister said. ‘Efforts like standard dictionary of Indian sign language, sign language translation of NCERT are changing lives and giving confidence to numerous talents all over the country,’ he added. Sports and Information & Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur as well as the families, guardians and coaches of the para athletes were present during the interaction.