The golden period of Indian sports is knocking on the doors, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday as he hailed the gutsy show of the Indian contingent which returned with 61 medals from the Commonwealth Games.
Modi on Saturday hosted the Indian contingent at his residence to felicitate the players in New Delhi.
The Indian athletes produced a sensational show in Birmingham, claiming 61 medals, including 22 gold, 16 silver and 23 bronze.
One of the major highlights of the mega event was the clinching of a gold medal by Nikhat Zareen.
After winning the medal in the final of the women’s 50kg Light Flyweight category, Zareen said she is excited to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and added that she will take his autograph on her boxing gloves. And she did it after meeting the PM.
"The real assessment of this performance can't be made with just number of medals, our athletes competed neck-to-neck. There may have been a difference of 1s or 1cm but we will make that up I am confident of that," Modi said during his speech.
"It is just a start and we are not going to just sit quietly, golden period of Indian sports is knocking on the doors."
"We have the responsibility of making a sporting system which is the best in the world, inclusive, diverse and dynamic. No talent should be left out as they are all assets."
While India produced a dominating show in badminton, wrestling and weightlifting, the athletes also did well in athletics, judo and lawn bowl, where they won India's first-ever medal in the Games.
"Not only are we strengthening the sports that we have been strong in but have also left a mark in new sports. In hockey we trying to get our legacy back," Modi said.
"Since last time, we have won medals in four new sports, from lawn bowls to athletics, our performance has been spectacular. This performance will help increase youth's interest in new sports. We have to improve our performance in new sports."
The Indian team also won a silver in women's T20 cricket which was introduced for the first time at the CWG.
"Under Harmanpreet's (Kaur) leadership, India has produced a fantastic performance in cricket. All players have done well but no one had the antidote to Renuka's (Thakur) swing bowling. It is not a small feat to be the top wicket taker among the greats."
Modi also noted that the achievements of the athletes coincided with the celebrations of India's 75th Independence Day.
The felicitation program was attended by most of the CWG-returned athletes, including the wrestlers, weightlifters, boxers, shuttlers and table-tennis players.
Modi also congratulated the chess players who competed and won medals at the Olympiad which was hosted in Chennai.