Modi will be the first Prime Minister who will stay overnight at the park, a UNESCO Heritage Site renowned for its one-horned rhinos.
Carrying the spirit of “One Nation One Spirit”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday announced the 37th National Games in Goa open, in a glittering opening ceremony at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here.
Indian men’s hockey team captain Harmanpreet Singh and windsurfer Katya Ida Ceohlo carried the torch to PM Modi, who was welcomed with a thunderous applause from the capacity crowd at the stadium. The Prime Minister took a lap across the stadium along with Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant amid loud cheers from the crowd.
Addressing the crowd, PM Modi congratulated the people of Goa and conveyed his best wishes on the 37th National Games. PM Modi underlined that the National Games are taking place at a time when the nation is achieving new heights in the world of sports. He mentioned the successes in the Asian Games breaking a 70-year-old record and also spoke about the ongoing Asian Para Games where all previous records have been smashed with a medal tally of more than 70.
Mentioning the recently concluded World University Games, where India created history, Modi said, “India’s recent success in the world of sports is a huge inspiration for every young sportsman.”
Referring to the National Games as a robust launchpad for every young athlete, the Prime Minister highlighted the various opportunities present before and urged them to give their best.
Highlighting the government’s roadmap from talent discovery to handholding to the Olympics podium, PM Modi informed that this year’s sports budget is three times more than the sports budget nine years ago. He said that the new ecosystem of initiatives like Khelo India and TOPS is finding talented athletes from schools, colleges and universities. He said that in TOPS the top athletes get the best training in the world and 3000 athletes are under training in Khelo India.
“Discover talent through Khelo India, nurture them and give them training and temperament for an Olympics podium finish by TOPS is our roadmap,” he said.
“Progress of the sports sector of any country is directly related to the progress of its economy”, the Prime Minister said. He pointed out that a negative atmosphere in the country is reflected through the sports field as well as daily life, while the recent success of India in sports resembles its overall success story.
“Our National Games is also a symbol of Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat,” the Prime Minister emphasized, noting that it is a great medium for every state of India to show its potential.
Concluding the address, the Prime Minister urged the athletes to give their best in every situation, whatever the field, whatever the challenge. “We must not lose this opportunity. With this call, I declare the beginning of the 37th National Games. Many best wishes again to all you athletes. Goa is ready,” he said.
Governor of Goa PS Sreedharan Pillai, Union Sports Minister Anurag Singh Thakur among others were present on the occasion. The Games will be held till November 9 and will witness participation of more than 10,000 athletes from across the country who will compete in over 43 sports disciplines across 28 venues.