Even after playing relentlessly for over two decades, PR Sreejesh is not willing to sacrifice his place in the Indian hockey team. At 40, Devendra Jhajharia, India's most decorated Paralympian with two gold and a silver medal, is learning new ways to compete with younger athletes and Noida's district magistrate Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj doesn't want the upcoming UP elections to spoil his training for the world para-badminton championships in Tokyo in November 2022. (More Sports News)
Such committed athletes have been India's pride. For years, they have inspired generations and when their turn came, they gave it their all. Even when COVID raged and Tokyo 2020 got deferred by a year, they kept their focus, never lost their motivation and when the time came, they delivered.
The year 2021 has been an eye-opener as India won a record seven medals at Tokyo 2020 and the Paralympians clinched a best-ever 19 medals, including five gold. Neeraj Chopra became as famous as Virat Kohli after winning the javelin gold in the Olympics.
Chopra's historic gold was independent India's first athletics medal at the Summer Games and only the second individual gold after shooter Abhinav Bindra's achievement in Beijing 2008.
On Republic Day 2022 eve, India's Olympians and Paralympians came together to sing the national anthem -- Jana Gana Mana .. -- in a bid to lift the morale of the youth and inspire them to play a sport.
The video, conceptualised by former Indian Test spinner Nilesh Kulkarni's International Institute of Sports Management, is an attempt to celebrate India's success at Tokyo 2020 and look ahead to 2022, a year that will see the Asian Games in Hangzhao (China) and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham (UK).
The video sees 18 star performers at Tokyo 2020 take turns to sing the national anthem. Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan, a sports fanatic, has recited a few lines in the four-minute video.
Apart from celebrating India's Tokyo 2020 success, the video aims to inspire the youth to play sport. India, one of the youngest nations in the world, is low on fitness and the country lacks a sports culture. Research shows less than 2 per cent Indians participate in a sport.
To mark Republic Day 2022, India's top stars thus urged the country's youth to make a pledge to play sports and build the nation's character.