Basti (UP): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday pointed out that the mentality that sports is not an important part of life has caused great loss to the country and said that today “new India” is also trying to solve every challenge faced by the sports sector.
Inaugurating the second phase of ‘Saansad Khel Maha Kumbh 2022-23’ via video conferencing, the PM said, “There was a time when sports was counted as an extracurricular activity. That is, apart from studies it was considered only a means of time pass. The children were told and taught the same thing.”
“Generation after generation a mentality was instilled in the society that sports are not that important, they are not a part of life and future. This mentality caused a huge loss to the country. This led to many talented sports persons not achieving their potential” he said.
Modi said that in the last 8 to 9 years leaving behind the old mentality, work to create a better environment for sports has been done in the country. “This is the reason that now more children and our youth are looking at sports as a career option. From fitness to health, from team bonding to a means of relieving stress, from professional success to personal improvement, people are beginning to see the different benefits of sports,” he said.
He said, “And it is a matter of happiness that parents are also taking sports seriously now. This change is good for our society as well as for sports. Sports are now getting social recognition.”
The PM said that the benefit of this change in the mentality of the people is directly visible in the achievements of the country in the field of sports. “Today India is constantly creating new records. We did the best ever performance in the Olympics and Paralympics. India’s performance in tournaments of different sports is now becoming a topic of discussion. My young friends, this is just a beginning. We have a long journey to go, new goals to achieve and many new records to break,” he said.
He said that sports is a skill and it is also a nature, sports is a talent, and it is also a determination. “Training has its own importance in the development of sports and it is also necessary that sports competitions and tournaments should be organised continuously. This gives players a chance to test their training,” he said.
Modi said that Basti is the holy land of Maharishi Vashishtha, the land of labour and meditation, penance and sacrifice. “For a player his game is also a spiritual practice and a penance. I am happy that such a huge Khel Maha Kumbh is being organised in Basti. This Khel Maha Kumbh will give a new opportunity to local sportspersons who are traditionally well-versed in Indian sports,” he said.
He said, “I have been told that about 200 MPs of India have organised similar events in their respective constituencies in which thousands of youth have participated. I am also an MP from Kashi. So, in my parliamentary constituency of Kashi, such a series of sports competitions has started.”
While congratulating local MP Harish Dwivedi for organising the event, the PM said that all the MPs are working to shape the future of the new generation by organising such Khel Maha Kumbh and sports competitions at many places. “Young sportspersons who have performed well in the Saansad Khel Maha Kumbh are also being selected for further training in the centers of the Sports Authority of India. This will greatly benefit the youth power of the country,” he said.
He said, “More than 40,000 youths are taking part in this Maha Kumbh itself and I am told that it is three times more than last year. I wish all of you the best of luck for these games. I got an opportunity to see Kho-Kho now and the cleverness with which our daughters were playing with complete team spirit was really a great pleasure to watch.”
Modi said that there is another special aspect of the Saansad Khel Maha Kumbh as a large number of daughters are participating in this. “I have faith that the daughters of Basti, Purvanchal, UP and the country will continue to show their mettle in national and international competitions. Just a few days ago, we saw how brilliantly our country’s captain Shefali Verma performed in the Women’s Under-19 and T-20 World Cup. There is so much talent in every corner of India. This kind of MP Khel Maha Kumbh has a big role in finding and grooming this sports talent,” he said.
He said that the sports competitions at different levels and in different regions help the players a lot. “With this, the players not only get to know about their potential, they are also able to develop their own techniques. The coaches of the players also come to know what are the shortcomings in their pupil and where there is a need for improvement,” he said.
The PM said, “That’s why maximum opportunities are being given to the players from Saansad Maha Kumbh to National Games. That’s why more and more Youth Games, University Games, Winter Games are happening in the country today. Thousands of players are participating in these games every year.”
He said that under the Khelo India campaign the government is also providing financial assistance to the players. “At present, there are more than 2,500 athletes in the country who are being given more than Rs 50,000 every month under the Khelo India campaign. Our government’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) is helping the sportspersons going to the Olympics. Under this scheme also, about 500 sportspersons are being given financial assistance every month. Keeping in view the need of some players of international level the government is extending them assistance of Rs 2.5 crore to Rs 7 crore,” he said.
Modi said that today’s new India is also trying to solve every challenge faced by the sports sector and emphasis is being laid on ensuring that the players have adequate resources, training, technical knowledge, international exposure and transparency in their selection.
He said, “Today, infrastructure related to sports is being prepared in Basti and other such districts, stadiums are being built, coaches are being arranged. More than 1,000 Khelo India district centers are also being set up across the country. I am happy that more than 750 of these centers have been completed. Geo-tagging of all playgrounds across the country is also being done so that players do not face any problem in training.”
The PM said that the government has constructed a Sports University in Manipur for the youths of the North East and a Sports University is also being constructed in UP’s Meerut. “I have been told that many new stadiums have been built in UP. To promote sports, sports hostels are also being run in many districts of UP. Efforts are also being made to provide national level facilities at the local level,” he said.
He pointed out that every sports person knows how important it is to stay fit and the Fit India Movement has played a role in this. “To pay attention to fitness, all of you must do one more thing and that is to adopt Yoga in your life. With yoga, your body will also be healthy and your mind will also be awake. You will also get the benefit of this in your game,” he said.
Modi said that similarly nutritious food is equally important for every player. “Our millets, which are called coarse grains, which are usually eaten in every house in our villages, these millets can play a big role in food. You know that at the behest of India, the year 2023 has been declared as the International Year of Millets. If you include Millets in your diet chart then it will also help you in better health,” he said.
He said, “I am sure, all our youth will learn a lot from sports as well as in life, and this energy of yours will expand from the sports field and become the energy of the country.”
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Shri Yogi Adityanath and Member of Parliament from Basti Harish Dwivedi were also present on the occasion among others dignitaries.