President Ramnath Kovind today said that India would eventually emerge as a great power in the sports and aspire to find a place in top ten countries for winning the medals in 2028 Olympics.
Speaking after an ever-virtual presentation of National Sports and Adventure Awards, 2020 commemorating the National Sports Day here in Rashtrapati Bhavan today, Ramnath expressed his optimism saying “I am sure we will achieve this target”.
The awards were conferred on sports-persons and trainers spread over 11 different centres across the country including, Bengaluru, Pune, Sonepat, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Lucknow, Delhi, Mumbai, Bhopal, Hyderabad and Itanagar. The Union Minister of State with Independent Charge for Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju also attended the ceremony and delivered the welcome address from New Delhi. Earlier in the day, he paid floral tributes at the statue of Hockey Legend, Late Major Dhyan Chand, on his birth anniversary.
The President said that COVID-19 has adversely affected the sports world too. Olympic Games have been postponed. Sports activities in our country have also been affected. Players and coaches might be feeling less motivated due to lack of practice and competitions which poses a huge challenge for their mental and physical preparation. He was happy to note that players and coaches have been connected through online coaching and webinars to overcome this challenge and said that today’s event was an attempt to continue sports-related activities despite the global pandemic.
The President was happy to note the increased diversity of sports in our country. He said that today’s award winners represent more than 20 sports. The growing popularity of our traditional games like Kabaddi, Kho-Kho and Mallakhamb will help in connecting the common people with sports. Today, apart from Cricket and Football, league tournaments of sports like Volleyball and Kabaddi are gaining popularity which is a pleasant change.
The President said that the culture of sports can be promoted by the participation of all stakeholders. It is not the sole responsibility of the government. Investment in sports is a collective effort towards nation-building which strengthens society. He was happy to note that many corporate, NGOs and educational institutions are making a significant contribution to promoting sports. He expressed confidence that India would emerge as a leading nation in sports through collective efforts.