Never been a better time for Indian sports, says PM Modi

Chennai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday opened the 44th International Chess Olympiad in Chennai. Five-time world chess champion, Viswanathan Anand handed over the Olympiad torch to PM Modi and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin during the inaugural ceremony. The Olympiad is scheduled to take place from July 28 to August 10 at Poonjeri village in Mamallapuram.

PM Modi in his inaugural speech said that the most prestigious chess competition has come to its home. “Tamil Nadu has a strong historical connection with Chess. The state has produced many Chess masters. It’s home to a vibrant culture and the oldest language ‘Tamil’, he said.

Highlighting India’s glory at the Olympics last year he said, “There has never been a better time for sports in India. Today sports are seen as a great profession of choice, due to the perfect mix of the energy of youth and enabling environment by the government.”

“Talented youngsters, from small towns, are bringing glory to the nation,” he added.

Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin said that out of 73 Chess Grandmasters in India, 26 are from Tamil Nadu. “Thirty-six percent of Grandmasters of India are from Tamil Nadu. I am proud that Tamil Nadu excels in this game and Chennai can be rightly called the Chess capital of India,” Stalin said.

Pakistan announces a last-minute pullout

Pakistan on Thursday withdrew from the event, citing the torch relay of the event passing through Jammu and Kashmir. “Pakistani players left India Thursday following their pullout of the event,” Olympiad director and All India Chess Federation (AICF) general secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan told PTI. Pakistan was invited by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) to participate in the Chess Olympiad.

Image courtesy of (Image Courtesy: Twitter/ @MKStalin)

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