Don’t get bogged down by expectations: Modi tells athletes

Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked the Tokyo Olympics-bound Indian sportspersons not to get bogged down by the pressure of huge expectations and try and put up their best performance without bothering about the results.

“Don’t take the pressure of winning, just tell yourself one thing that we will do our best. I will say it again ‘cheer for India’. I am sure you will touch new heights,” Prime Minister Modi told the 126 members of the Indian contingent and their family members during an interaction this week.

He said his government has provided all the facilities and support to the sportspersons and as a result athletes in such large numbers have qualified for Tokyo Olympics.

He said the Tokyo-bound sportspersons were a reflection of new India.

“I see you all together and I see some things in common – confidence, positivity, discipline, dedication and commitment. You are a reflection of new India. You come from all of India, some started in the field, some in academies but all of you are part of Team India. You are going to represent the country, and this spirit is the image of India. You play with all your spirit, work more on your technique.”

The Prime Minister interacted with individual sports persons, finding out about their progress, their trials and travails, the sacrifices their family have made to help them reach the top in their chosen sport. He extended his best wishes to each one of them for the Olympics.

He asked tennis star Sania Mirza about what it take to become a tennis player? Sania replied that one needs “a lot of hard work and talent to make it big. Family’s support and dedication is also important and destiny does play a role. But there is no substitute for hard work and talent”.

He asked Vinesh Phogat whether being part of a famous family means extra pressure. Vinesh replied: “There is pressure and expectation but I feel that is important and we push more due to expectation. There is no pressure, I will do well and hope to win a medal.”

The Prime Minister asked Commonwealth Games gold medallist table tennis player Manika Batra how she got the idea to help underprivileged kids play TT. Manika told him that she saw talent in them and felt that they could do well if she helped them.

The Prime Minister asked reigning world champion in badminton and Rio Olympic silver-medallist, PV Sindhu, if she is staying away from mobile phones and ice creams just like before Rio when coach P Gopichand had taken away her mobile phone and did not allow her to eat ice creams.

Sindhu replied she had to take care of her diet and therefore she is not having much ice cream. The PM offered to have ice-cream with her when he hosts the medallists after they return from Tokyo.

He told star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra not to get bogged down by the pressure of expectations and inquired about how he kept himself motivated during his long layoff due to a shoulder and elbow injury in 2019.

He also interacted with hockey team captain Manpreet Singh, athlete Dutee Chand, five-time world champion MC Mary Kom, table tennis player Sharath Kamal, young shooters Saurabh Chaudhury and Elavenil Valarivan, who hails from Maninagar, which was Modi’s constituency when he was an MLA in Gujarat.


India to send 228-strong contingent to Tokyo Olympics

New Delhi: India will be sending a 228-strong contingent to the Tokyo Olympics, including 119 athletes, IOA President Narinder Batra has said.

Out of the 119 athletes, 67 are male and 52 are female participants, Batra said before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interaction with the country’s Olympic-bound athletes.

“The total Indian contingent for the Tokyo Olympics will be 228. There will be 67 male athletes and 52 female athletes. We are fighting in 85 medal events,” Batra said during the virtual interaction.

This will be India’s largest ever contingent of athletes at the Olympics.

The sailing team of four athletes and coaches was the first from the Indian contingent to reach Tokyo on Tuesday. The sailors had arrived at the Japanese capital directly from their training bases in different countries across Europe.

Since they are coming from Europe, they will not be facing the stricter restrictions imposed on the other athletes arriving in Tokyo from India in view of the COVID-19 situation in the country.

The boxing and shooting teams will also arrive at Tokyo from Italy and Croatia respectively. Star weightlifter Mirabai Chanu will reach Tokyo on July 15 or 16 from the United States.

The upcoming Olympics, in which on-site spectators will not be allowed owing to the pandemic, are scheduled to be held in the Japanese capital from July 23 to August 8.

Image courtesy of (File photo)

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