Goa, Oct 26: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 37th National Games at Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Margao, Goa on Friday. The Games will be held from 26th October to 9th November and will witness the participation of more than 10,000 athletes from across the country who will compete in over 43 sports disciplines across 28 venues.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister remarked that the journey of Mahakumbh of Indian Sports has arrived in Goa and the environment is filled with colors, waves, enthusiasm and adventure. “There’s nothing like the aura of Goa”, Shri Modi emphasized. He congratulated the people of Goa and conveyed his best wishes on the 37th National Games. The Prime Minister underlined the contribution of Goa to the country’s sports and mentioned Goa’s love for football. The fact that the National Games are taking place in sports-loving Goa is energizing in itself, he added.
Prime Minister 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. He also mentioned the recently concluded World University Games, where India created history. “India’s recent success in the world of sports is a huge inspiration for every young sportsman”, Shri Modi said. 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.
The Prime Minister stressed that there is no dearth of talent in India and the country has produced champions despite deprivation, yet poor performance in the medal tally always rankled the countrymen. In this light, the Prime Minister narrated the changes brought after 2014 in the sports infrastructure, selection process, financial assistance schemes for sportspersons, training schemes and the mentality of the society, thus removing roadblocks in the sports ecosystem one by one. The government prepared a roadmap from talent discovery to handholding to the Olympics podium.
The Prime Minister 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. Players are getting scholarships worth 6 lakh per year. About 125 players discovered under Khelo India participated in the Asian Games and won 36 medals. “Discover talent through Khelo India, nurture them and give them training and temperament for an Olympics podium finish by TOPS is our roadmap”, he added.
“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. Shri Modi underlined that India is breaking new records and moving forward in every sector. “It is hard to match India’s speed and scale”, he emphasized. Throwing light on India’s achievements in the past 30 days, the Prime Minister said that if the nation continues to move forward with the same scale and speed, it is Modi who can guarantee a bright future for the young generations. Giving examples, the Prime Minister mentioned the passage of Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, the successful test of Gaganyaan, the inauguration of India’s first Rapid Rail ‘Namo Bharat’, the expansion of Bengaluru Metro, Jammu and Kashmir’s first Vista Dome train service, the inauguration of Delhi-Vadodara Expressway, the successful organization of G20 Summit, Global Maritime Summit where agreements worth 6 lakh crores took place, Operation Ajay which evacuated Indians from Israel, the beginning of ferry services between India and Sri Lanka, India’s inclusion in the top 3 countries in 5G user base, Google’s recent announcement to make smartphones after Apple, and a new record in fruit and vegetable produce in the country. “This is just half the list”, he underlined.
The Prime Minister said that the youth of the nation is at the base of all the work that is going on in the country. He talked about the new platform ‘MY Bharat’ which will be a one-stop center for connecting the youth among themselves and with the schemes of the country so that they get the maximum opportunity to realize their potential and contribute to nation-building. This will be a medium to turn India’s Yuva Shakti to be Yuva Shakti of Viksit Bharat”, he said. The Prime Minister will launch the campaign on the upcoming Ekta Diwas. He asked that on the day there should be a grand programme of Run for Unity.
Prime Minister Modi said “Today, when both India's resolve and efforts are so huge, then it is natural for India's aspirations to be high. That is why during the IOC session, I put forward the aspiration of 140 crore Indians. I assured the Supreme Committee of the Olympics that India is ready to organize the Youth Olympics in 2030 and the Olympics in 2036. Our aspiration to organize the Olympics is not limited to just emotions. Rather, there are some solid reasons behind this.” The Prime Minister said in 2036 India’s economy and infrastructure will be in a position to host the Olympics easily.
“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. He lauded the preparations made by the Goa government and the people of Goa for organizing the national games. He said that the sports infrastructure created here will be useful to the youth of Goa for many decades to come and the land will produce many new players for the country, while the infrastructure will be used for organizing national and international sports events in the future. “In the last few years, modern infrastructure related to connectivity has also been built in Goa. The National Games will greatly benefit Goa's tourism and economy”, he added.
The Prime Minister acknowledged Goa as the land of celebrations and mentioned the Goa International Film Festival and the state’s growing stature as a hub of international conferences and summits. Mentioning the 2016 BRICS Conference and many G20 conferences, the Prime Minister expressed happiness that the ‘Goa Roadmap for Sustainable Tourism’ was adopted by G20.
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 concluded.
Governor of Goa, Shri P. S. Sreedharan Pillai, Chief Minister of Goa, Shri Pramod Savant, Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs, Shri Anurag Singh Thakur and President of Indian Olympic Association, Dr P T Usha among others were present on the occasion.