Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said sports power is contributing to the power of the country.
“Sports power is becoming the power of India and the identity in sports is becoming the identity of the nation,” Modi said in a recorded speech played at the inauguration of the Khelo India University Games (KIUG) -2021.
The games that were supposed to take place the previous year could not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Prime Minister said the joy in the faces of sportspersons, who took part in the Tokyo Olympics, was not just about winning medals but about playing the games for the nation.
PM Modi asked the students taking part in the KIUG-2021 not to think that they were playing for themselves, their families or the universities but for the country.
“This spirit will help win medals in future,” PM Modi said in his video message.
The Prime Minister said the students should play with dedication and practice for success.
“You should play with dedication because many of you play at the State-level, national-level and international-level,” PM Modi reminded the players.
He hailed Bengaluru for emerging as a sports hub besides making a name in the IT/BT sector and also as a startup hub. For this, he congratulated the Karnataka government.
Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, who inaugurated the event at the Kanteerava Stadium, welcomed the idea of including native games like Mallakhamb.
“Indigenous games should be given top priority,” Naidu said. He also called upon the participants to inculcate team spirit for sucess.
The Vice-President told the gathering that sports activities should be encouraged at the grassroots- level.
Speaking about the nation entering the international sports arena, Naidu said India, being a young nation with a substantial young population, can fair better than any country in the world.
“Nation and culture together make for a better future,” Naidu said.
He called upon people, especially youngsters, to lead a healthy lifestyle. “People look at the West, leaving the best here,” Naidu said in his inimitable style.
A colourful culture programme amid the dazzling light followed. The star attraction was the Mallakhamb by the participants.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Union Minister for Sports Minister Anurag Thakur and Karnataka Sports Minister Dr K C Narayana Gowda too addressed the gathering.