The Prime Minister said most sportspersons hail from smaller towns and villages. He said the team going to the Tokyo Olympics has many such players whose lives are very inspiring. He mentioned Praveen Jadhav who hails from a village in Satara district of Maharashtra.
He is very good at Archery. His parents run the family by working as labourers and now their son is going to participate in his first Olympics at Tokyo. Mr Modi said this is a matter of great pride not only for his parents but for the country. Similarly, he mentioned Neha Goyal who is a member of the women’s hockey team going to Tokyo. Her mother and sisters manage family expenses by working in a cycle factory. The Prime Minister also spoke about Deepika Kumari whose life has been full of ups and downs. Deepika’s father drives an auto rickshaw and her mother is a nurse. Deepika is at present the only female archer from India in the Tokyo Olympics.
The Prime Minister said players going to Tokyo faced scarcity of means and resources in their childhood, but persevered and endured with fortitude. Mr Modi gave the example of Priyanka Goswami of Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh. Priyanka’s father is a bus conductor. As a child, Priyanka adored the bag that the medal winners were presented with. It was this fascination that made her participate in the Race-Walking competition for the first time. Now, she is a big champion of Race Walking. The Prime Minister also cited the example of Shivpal Singh, who participates in Javelin Throw and hails from Banaras. Shivpal’s entire family is associated with this sport. His father, uncle and brother are all experts at javelin throw. Mr Modi also presented the example of Chirag Shetty and his partner Satwik Sairaj who are going for the Tokyo Olympics. Recently, Chirag’s maternal grandfather died of COVID.
Satwik himself tested COVID positive last year. Despite these hurdles, both of them are preparing to give their best in the Men’s Double Shuttle Competition. The Prime Minister also introduced another player, Manish Kaushik of Bhiwani, Haryana. Manish comes from an agricultural family. While working in the fields in his childhood, Manish became fond of boxing. Mr Modi said this hobby of his is taking him to Tokyo today. He also mentioned C.A. Bhavani Devi who is adroit at fencing. Bhavani, who hails from Chennai, is the first Indian fencer to qualify in the Olympics. Mr Modi said Bhavani’s mother had mortgaged her jewellery to continue her training.
The Prime Minister stated that every player going to Tokyo has had their own share of struggles, and years of toil. He said they are going not only for themselves but also for the country. Mr Modi advised people to not pressurize these players knowingly or unknowingly, but support them with an open mind and bolster their enthusiasm. He asked them to send their wishes to these players with #Cheer4India on social media.