NEW DELHI — The Indian Para-athlete contingent for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, alongside their families and management, interacted with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Aug. 17.
India’s Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Anurag Singh Thakur, was also present.
Modi lauded the para-athletes for their self-confidence and resolve. He credited their hard work and said he was hopeful after interacting with the para-athletes that India will create new history at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
“After talking with you all, I realized that India is going to make history at the Paralympics as well,” he said.
“Covid-19 may have increased your hardships, but you people never gave up. This is real sportsmanship. Your medal is important, but [a] new India will not pressurize our athletes to win the medal. You need to give your 100 percent.”
Modi stressed the importance of mental strength together with physical strength in the field. He praised the para-athletes for overcoming their circumstances and moving forward.
Considering the issues like lack of exposure and stress associated with a new place, new people, and international settings, three sessions were conducted through workshops and seminars on sports psychology for the contingent.
India’s villages and remote areas are full of talent. The present contingent of para-athletes is a living example of that, Modi said, adding that the youth should be prioritized and ensure that they get all the resources and facilities.
Modi said to the athletes that they strengthen the spirit of ‘One India, Best India.’
“Whatever state, the 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,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister took the opportunity to say that providing differently-abled persons with facilities was earlier treated as welfare. Today the country is working for this as part of its responsibility, he said. That is why the parliament enacted a law like The Rights for Persons with Disabilities Act to provide comprehensive security to the people.
Government buildings, railway stations, train coaches, domestic airports, and other infrastructure are being developed to be more inclusive in that respect. Efforts like the standard dictionary of the Indian Sign Language and sign language translation by the National Council of Education Research and Training are changing lives and giving confidence to numerous talents all over the country, Modi said.
The 2020 Tokyo Paralympic contingent is India’s biggest ever, with 54 para-athletes from nine sports disciplines heading East to represent the nation. The Paralympic Games are scheduled from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.
(With inputs from ANI)
Edited by Amrita Das and Krishna Kakani
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