31 July, New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the ‘RUN FOR RIO’ in New Delhi Sunday morning.
The event was organised to celebrate the Olympic mood in the country at a time when India is sending its largest ever contingent of athletes to participate in the Games in Brazil.
Addressing the ceremony, Mr Modi exuded confidence that the Indian athletes will not only clinch medals but will also win hearts with their conduct during the Games.
The Prime Minister said, he wants to convey to the members of Indian contingent that there will be many athletes from all over the world but there are 125 crore Indians standing behind them.
Modi said, when the tri-colour will be hoisted on the occasion of 70th Independence Day, he is sure that the national flag will also be hoisted in Rio during the period.
The Prime Minister also urged the youth to work hard for 2020 Olympics and said the focus should be on sending more than 200-member contingent to Tokyo.
Modi said, the sportspersons have the talent, determination and big dreams and he promise that the government will provide them every possible support in next four years. He said, India must focus on qualifying in events where the country have never made its presence felt.
The Prime Minister said, sports cannot be evaluated in loss or win, adding that the players fight for the pride of the nation, which is the biggest challenge.
Modi asserted that the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre in the last two years has so far focused tremendously on sports.
He said, this time the contingents are being sent in advance, so that players are familiar with local conditions.
He said, two years ago itself, Government started to study the reasons why the Indian sportspersons were criticised so that there will be enough time to work on them.
Conveying his best wishes for the Rio Olympics, the Prime Minister said the games give a message of brotherhood.
He said, Sports is a necessity of life and let everyone play and shine.
Speaking on the occasion, Sports Minister Vijay Goel said, his Ministry is committed to promote Sports in the country especially in rural and far flung areas.
He said, the Rio bound contingent comprises eighty percent athletes from rural background and the North East region of the country.
He said, the focus will be to provide facilities and sports infrastructure to promote sports and sports persons at the grassroots level especially in indigenous and popular sports.
The 5 Kilometre run which commenced from Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium ended at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Nearly 20,000 school children participated in the event.
On the occasion, Modi also released a publication of the Sports Authority of India on Indian Olympics Journey.
The book carries information on the country’s Olympics achievements and preparations for the future.
The objective of the Run was to connect public at large with the Olympic spirit and power of sports.
Similar Runs on a smaller scale were at the Regional Centres of the Sports Authority of India.