Prime Minister’s Office
Although it is very motivating for me to talk to everyone, it is not possible to talk to everyone. But I have had the opportunity to keep in touch with many of you in one way or the other and had the opportunity to interact with you on different occasions. But I am glad that you took out time to come to my residence as a member of the family. As every Indian is proud of the success of your accomplishments, I am also proud to be associated with you. You all are very welcome here.
The country is going to complete 75 years of independence after two days. It is a matter of pride that the country is heralding the ‘Amrit Kaal’ of independence with an inspiring achievement by your efforts.
Over the last few weeks, the country has made two major achievements in the field of sports. Along with the historic performance in the Commonwealth Games, the country organized Chess Olympiad for the first time. Not only has the country organized a successful event, but it has also delivered an outstanding performance, continuing its rich tradition in chess. I congratulate all the players who participated in the Chess Olympiad and all the medal winners on this occasion today.
I promised all of you ahead of the Commonwealth Games that we will celebrate the victory festival together upon your return. It was my belief that you would return home victorious and therefore I made sure to manage my time despite my busy schedule to celebrate victory with you. Today is the occasion to celebrate victory. While I was talking to you, I could see the confidence and courage which has become your identity. Those who won medals and those who are going to win medals in future deserve praise today.
I want to tell you one more thing. While all of you were competing there, crores of Indians were staying awake late here due to time difference. The countrymen were fixated on your every action and move till late at night. Many people slept with alarms so that they could remain updated with your performance. People used to constantly check the score, goals and points. All of you have a big role in increasing this interest and attraction towards sports among people and you deserve congratulations for this.
It is not possible to make an honest assessment of your performance this time just by the number of medals. So many players were neck-on-neck in different competitions this time. This too is no less than a medal in itself. Well, they might have lagged by point one second or point one centimeter, but we will cover that too. I have full faith in you. I am also excited because we are not only strengthening the sports which have been our strength, but we are also leaving our mark in new sports. I appreciate the efforts, hard work and temperament of both the teams for the way we are regaining our legacy in hockey. Compared to last time, we have scored victories in four new games. From lawn bowls to athletics, there has been phenomenal performance. With this performance, the inclination of youth towards new sports in the country is going to increase a lot. We have to keep on improving our performance like this in the new games. I can see all the old faces in front of me, be it Sharath, Kidambi, Sindhu, Saurabh, Mirabai, Bajrang, Vinesh or Sakshi. All the senior athletes have led as expected and encouraged everyone. And on the other hand, our young athletes have done wonders. The young colleagues I spoke to before the start of the Games have lived up to their promise. Out of those who debuted, 31 teammates won medals. This shows how much the confidence of our youth is increasing today. The spirit of a new India is visible when veteran Sharath dominates and Avinash, Priyanka and Sandeep take on the world’s best athletes for the first time. This is the spirit that we are ready for every race and competition. How many times have we seen two Indian players saluting the tricolor on the athletics podium simultaneously? And friends, the whole country is in awe of the performance of our daughters. Just now when I was talking to Pooja, I also mentioned this to her. After watching that emotional video of Pooja, I had said through social media that you don’t need to apologize. You are a winner for the country and you just don’t have to compromise on your honesty and hard work. I also said the same thing to Vinesh after the Olympics and I am glad that she put the disappointment behind and did her best. Be it boxing, judo, or wrestling, the way daughters have dominated, it is amazing. Neetu forced the rivals to leave the boxing ring. Under the leadership of Harmanpreet, the Indian cricket team performed well in the inaugural competition itself. The performance of all the players has been excellent, but no one still has the answer to Renuka’s swing. Being the top wicket-taker among the legends is no less an achievement. She may have the calmness of Shimla on her face and the innocent smile of the mountains, but her aggression shatters the spirits of big batters. This performance will surely inspire, encourage and motivate the daughters even in remote areas.
It is not that you give medals to the country and an opportunity to celebrate and the country to feel proud. Rather, you strengthen the spirit of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’. You inspire the youth of the country to do better not only in sports but also in other sectors. You all unite the country with one resolve, one goal, which was also a great strength of our freedom struggle. The viewpoint of countless fighters and revolutionaries like Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Mangal Pandey, Tatya Tope, Lokmanya Tilak, Sardar Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Ashfaqulla Khan and Ramprasad Bismil was different, but the goal was one. Innumerable heroines like Rani Lakshmibai, Jhalkari Bai, Durga Bhabhi, Rani Chennamma, Rani Gaidinliu and Velu Nachiyar fought for freedom breaking every stereotype. Many great tribal fighters like Birsa Munda, Alluri Sitarama Raju and Govind Guru fought against such a mighty army only with their courage and spirit. Many personalities like Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Pandit Nehru, Sardar Patel, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Acharya Vinoba Bhave, Nanaji Deshmukh, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Shyama Prasad Mookerjee spent their lives to fulfill the dreams of independent India. From the freedom struggle to the way the whole of India collectively tried in the rebuilding of independent India, you also enter the field with the same spirit. Irrespective of the state, district, village, language, you do your best for the pride and prestige of the country. Your driving force is the tricolor and we have seen the power of the tricolor in Ukraine some time ago. The tricolor became a protective shield not only for the Indians, but also for the people of other countries while evacuating them from the battlefield.
In recent times, we have done well in other tournaments as well. We have had the most successful performance so far in the World Athletics Championships. There has also been a commendable performance in the World Under-20 Athletics Championships. Similarly, many new records have been made in the World Cadet Wrestling Championship and Para Badminton International tournaments. It is definitely a time of excitement for the Indian sport. There are also many coaches, members of the coaching staff and colleagues associated with sports administration in the country here. Your role in these successes has also been excellent. Your role is very important. But this is the beginning according to me. We are not going to rest on our laurels. The golden era of India’s sports is knocking, friends. I am glad that many players who have graduated from the Khelo India platform have done exceptionally well this time. The positive effect of TOPS is also being seen. We have to intensify our efforts to discover new talent and take them to the podium. It is our responsibility to build a sporting ecosystem that is world-class, inclusive, diversified and dynamic. No talent should be left out, because it is the wealth of the country. I would urge all the athletes to prepare for the forthcoming Asian Games and the Olympics. I have another request for you on 75 years of independence. Last time I requested you to encourage children by visiting 75 schools and educational institutions of the country. In the midst of engagements, many colleagues have done this under the Meet the Champion campaign. Keep up this campaign. I urge those who have not been able to make it yet to go as the youth of the country now sees you as a role model and therefore listens carefully to your words. He is eager to apply your advice in his life. Your capability, acceptance and growing respect should also be useful for the younger generation of the country. I once again wish you all the best on this victory journey! Many congratulations! Thank you!
DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of PM’s speech. Original speech was delivered in Hindi.