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Asiad medal winners the GOAT for the country: Modi

Source: PTI
October 10, 2023 21:25 IST
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'There was never a dearth of talent in India. The will to win was always there.'

BCCI President Roger Binny and secretary Jay Shah  with the India's Asian Games 2023 gold medallists in New Delhi on Tuesday.

IMAGE: BCCI President Roger Binny and secretary Jay Shah with the India's Asian Games 2023 gold medallists at a felicitation function in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photograph: Photograph: BCCI/X

Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured all possible help to Indian athletes in their endeavour to achieve greater heights and expressed confidence that the country will better its Hangzhou performance in the next edition of the Asian Games.

India’s athletes produced their best-ever performance at the continental games, bringing home 107 medals, including 28 gold, as the country finished fourth on the medals table.


Modi also congratulated the women athletes, saying they had given some amazing performances and accounted for half the medals won by the 660-member contingent.

"The government will pull all stops to ensure the athletes get the best. You have crossed 100 medals. Next time we will go way past this record. Put your best effort for the Paris (Olympics)," Modi said, while felicitating the Asian Games contingent in Delhi on Tuesday.

 The next edition of the Games is in Japan, in 2026.

"The athletes tried to give it their best shot. There was never a dearth of talent in India. The will to win was always there. They used to do well earlier as well, but there were a lot of hurdles which came in their way.

"But after 2014 Indian athletes are getting the best training, facilities and competitions abroad," said Modi.

The Asian Games haul, he added, was a good marker for the future of sport in the country.

"Whatever event we competed in, we won medals. The canvas is growing, which is a good indication for India. You have opened new avenues, which will motivate the new generation. This (performance) will also give new motivation for the Paris Olympics (next year).

"Our women have given an amazing performance. They showcased the strength of women in the country. Half the medals won at the Asian Games were won by women. In track and field, I felt they were not willing to settle for anything less than a gold medal."

The PM also gave the thumbs up to the sports ministry's flagship programme, ‘Khelo India’, saying it was a huge success.

"This Asian Games 125 athletes were the products of the Khelo India programme and they won 40 medals. This shows that Khelo India is progressing in the right direction.

"More than 3,000 athletes are getting training, coaching, medical and dietary assistance under Khelo India. A total of Rs 25,000 crore assistance is being given to athletes. Money will not come in the way of the athletes. Next five years the government will spend an additional Rs 3000 crore on athletes and more infrastructure will be created," said Modi.

He also called each athlete who brought laurels the GOAT of the country.

"Indian athletes today don't just want good performance; they want medals. You are the GOAT for the country."

Urging the medal winners to spread awareness about drugs and doping in schools, he said: "The country is fighting a nirnayak (decisive) battle against drugs... war against doping. I want you to go to schools and tell them (students) what is the right way to win medals, and they will listen to you. You can play a huge role in that.

"Make it your mission to tell youngsters about the harmful efforts of drugs.”

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