Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday interacted with the Indian para-athlete contingent for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The Prime Minister virtually interacted with para athletes and their families, guardians and coaches. Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports; Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Singh Thakur was present on the occasion.
A total of 54 para athletes from across 9 sports disciplines will be heading to Tokyo to represent India which is sending the biggest ever contingent to the Paralympic Games.
The Prime Minister lauded the para-athletes for their self confidence and will power.
He credited their hard work for being the part of the biggest ever contingent to the Paralympic Games.
He said that he is hopeful that India will create a new history at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
"Today's new India does not put pressure for medals on the athletes but expects them to give their best," he said.
Referring to the recent Olympics, the Prime Minister said that country is firmly with the athletes in their efforts whether they win or miss.
The Prime Minister discussed the importance of mental strength along with the physical strength in the field.
"Our villages and remote areas are full of talent and the contingent of para athletes is a living example of that. We have to think of our youth and ensure that they should get all the resources and facilities. There are many young players in these areas with capabilities to win medals. Today the country is trying to reach them, special attention is being paid to the rural areas," the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister informed that for recognising local talents, 360 Khelo India Centres have been established.
"Soon this number will be increased to 1,000 centres. Equipment, grounds and other resources and infrastructure are being made available to the sportspersons. The Country is helping them with an open heart. The country provided necessary facilities and targets through 'Target Olympic Podium Scheme'," he said.
The Prime Minister insisted that in order to reach to the top, we have to shed fears that have made home in the hearts of the older generation when families thought that there were no career prospects in sports barring one or two. This insecurity needed to be removed, he said.
The Prime Minister pointed out that traditional sports are getting a new identity along with the promotion of international sports.
The Prime Minister told the athletes that they strengthen the spirit of 'Ek Bharat, Shreshth Bharat' irrespective of sports they represent.
"Whatever the state, region you belong to, whatever language you speak, above all this, today you are Team India. This spirit should permeate every part of our society at every level," the Prime Ministers stressed.