Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, in the latest video release of his interaction with the Tokyo Paralympics contingent, hailed them as ambassadors of India and credited them with transforming the atmosphere – ‘mohol’- of the country through their performance at the world’s biggest sporting extravaganza for Para athletes.
“An interaction with our champions, who brought back pride and glory from Tokyo! Watch the interesting interaction with our Para-athletes…,” the Prime Minister tweeted while posting two separate video clippings of his nearly an hour long interactions with Indian Para-athlete contingent hosted by him on 9 September after they had returned from Tokyo.
Modi was seen interacting with the Para-athletes in the lawns of his office-cum residence at Lok Nayak Marg. Separate round-tables were laid in the lawn as Prime Minister Modi moved from one table to the other after each interaction. The players later posed with Modi with their medals, presented him with the equipment they used to win medals with and a stole bearing signatures of athletes among other things. On players’ request the Prime Minister gave them his autograph.
The players shared their experiences of winning medals and also how many of them missed their dream medal by a whisker. They thanked the Prime Minister for his words of encouragement before their departure for Tokyo and after participating in the Paralympics.
Paralympics silver medalist in table tennis Bhavina Patel told the Prime Minister how his advice to athletes just before their departure to stay positive helped her overcome despondency after a bad showing in the first match.
“When I suffered from viral fever after arriving in Tokyo. I did not perform well in my first match and I was disheartened after that and the only thing which came to my mind was that I wanted to meet you (Narendra Modi)…But I had in my mind that if I do not perform now then I would not be able to perform in future as well. So the motivation I have got from you…,” Bhavina told the Prime Minister.
Praising Bhavina for her courage, Modi said ‘now or never’ this kind of negativity should not be there. “You must say positive things and think positively in difficult situations,” he said. He said the achievements of Indian Para-athletes will booth the morale of the entire sporting community in the country.
“Your achievement will significantly boost the morale of the entire sporting community in the country, and budding sportspersons will feel encouraged to come forward to take up sports. This performance has led to awareness about sports that is increasing by leaps and bounds in the country,” Modi told the athletes who had won a record number of medals in Tokyo this time round.
The athletes on their part thanked the Prime Minister for inviting them over for the interaction and sharing a table with them. In a lighter vein one athlete amid laughter said that her family and village people were more excited over her slated meeting with the Prime Minister than her medal winning performance in Tokyo. They told Modi that athletes from other countries were all surprise when he had called them after their performance and said their Prime ministers or presidents never make similar calls to them. They thanked him for his continuous guidance, support and motivation.
The Prime minister was also seen patting many players on their back. “The entire team including you and your supporting staff have firmly established India’s reputation through their demeanour in Japan. Not that you have brought only medal for the country, your demeanour reflected a positivity. When you go to play in a country in a way you become India’s ambassador. When people look at you they see India in you.”Purey desh ka mohol badal gaya hai,” Prime Minister Modi said.
The Prime Minister further told players that they had changed the ‘defeatist mentality’ of the country by defeating the failure itself. “It’s a very big thing.
About the achievements of women Para athletes, Modi said,” Girls in the country are excelling in all spheres of life. Name any field in the country. They need only an opportunity.”