Modi elaborated on the modernization and transformative efforts undertaken after 2014.
NEW DELHI, Oct 10 (The CONNECT) – Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asked Asian Games medal achievers to spread the message about the evils of drugs and how they can ruin careers and lives.
Addressing Indian athletes’ contingent that has participated in the recently concluded Asian Games, Modi said the nation is fighting a decisive war on drugs and asked the athletes to always speak up about the evils of drugs and harmful medications whenever they get an opportunity.
He urged them to come forward to strengthen the war against drugs and take on the mission of a drug-free India.
Recalling his suggestion for the athletes to visit schools and interact with children, the Prime Minister insisted the athletes raise awareness among the youth about the evils of drugs and how they can ruin careers and lives. He pointed out that
Modi also highlighted the importance of super-foods for fitness and urged the athletes to raise awareness about giving priority to nutritious food among the children of the country. He insisted they connect with children and talk about the right eating habits and said that they can play a huge role in the millet movement and the nutrition mission.
He also interacted with the athletes. India won 107 medals including 28 gold medals in the Asian Games 2022 making this the best performance in terms of the total number of medals won in the continental multi-sport event.
The Prime Minister said “You have created history. Figures of this Asian Games are witness to India's success. This is the best performance of India in the Asian Games to date. It is a matter of personal satisfaction that we are moving in the right direction.”
Noting the highest-ever medal tally, Modi mentioned the highest-ever medals in shooting, archery, squash, rowing, female boxing and the first Gold Medal in Women's and Men’s cricket events, squash mixed doubles. He also underlined the significance of gaining medals in few events after a long time for example women's shot put (72 years), 4x4 100 meters (61 years), equestrian (41 years) and male badminton (40 years). “A wait of so many decades got over because of your efforts”, the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister noted expanding canvas as India won medals in almost all games in which it participated. At least 20 events were there where India never had a podium finish. “You not just opened an account but blazed a trail that will inspire a generation of youth. It will go beyond the Asian Games and will give new confidence in our march towards the Olympics. ”, he said.
The Prime Minister expressed great pride in the contributions made by the women athletes and said that it highlights the capabilities of India’s daughters. He informed that out of all the medals won, more than half were bagged by female athletes and it was the women’s cricket team that began the string of successes. He mentioned that most medals were won by women in Boxing. He also applauded the women’s athletics team for their impressive performances and said, “The daughters of India were not ready to settle for anything less than no. 1 in the track and field events”, the Prime Minister said, “This is the spirit and power of new India.” The Prime Minister underlined that the new India never stops quitting until the final whistle blows and the winners are decided. “The new India attempts to give its best every time”, he said.
He said India never lacked talent and athletes did perform well in the past, however, due to many challenges, we lagged behind in terms of medals. He elaborated on the modernization and transformative efforts undertaken after 2014. He said that it is India's effort to provide the athletes with the best training facilities, to provide maximum national and international exposure to athletes, ensure transparency in selection and provide maximum opportunity to the talent from the rural areas.
He informed that the sports budget has been enhanced three-fold as compared to 9 years ago. “Our TOPS and Khelo India schemes have proved game changer”, said the Prime Minister recalling how Khelo Gujarat changed the sporting culture of the state. He said about 125 athletes of the Asiad contingent are a find of Khelo India campaign, of which more than 40 have won medals. “Success of so many Khelo India athletes shows the right direction of the campaign”, he said. He informed that more than 3000 athletes are being trained under Khelo India. These players are getting scholarships of more than 6 lakh rupees each per annum. “Under this scheme, assistance worth about Rs 2.5 thousand crores has now been given to the athletes. I assure you that lack of money will never be a hindrance to your efforts. The government is going to spend Rs 3 thousand crore more for you and the sports in the next five years. Today, modern sports infrastructure is being built just for you in every corner of the country”, Shri Modi added.
The Prime Minister expressed happiness about the presence of younger athletes among the medal winners. “This is the sign of a sporting nation. These new young winners will perform brilliantly for the country for a long time. The new thinking of young India is no longer satisfied with just good performance, rather it wants medals and wins” he said.
“For the nation, you are the GOAT - Greatest of All Time”, he said noting the common lingo amongst the young generations. He said that the passion, dedication and childhood stories of the athletes are an inspiration for everyone. Underlining the impact that athletes have on the young generations, the Prime Minister stressed making good use of this positive energy by connecting with more youth.
Modi linked the successes in the sporting arena with the larger canvas of national successes. “Today, when India is gaining an important place on the world stage, you have demonstrated it in the sports field also. Today, when India is moving towards becoming a top-3 economy in the world, our youth directly benefit from it”, he emphasized. He mentioned similar successes in space, startups, science and technology and in entrepreneurship. “India's youth potential is visible in every sector”, he said.
“The country has great confidence in all you players”, the Prime Minister underlined as he noted the slogan of ‘100 Paar’ that was chosen for this year’s Asian Games. Shri Modi expressed confidence that this record will go much further in the next edition. Underlining that the Paris Olympics is right around the corner, the Prime Minister urged them to prepare diligently. He also consoled all those who did not achieve success this time and suggested they learn from their mistakes and make new efforts. Shri Modi extended his best wishes to all the players of the Para Asian Games which are set to begin from 22nd October.
Union Minister for Youth and Sports Affairs Anurag Singh Thakur was present on the occasion among others.