By Harpal Singh Bedi / New Delhi
Describing the sports persons and officials representing the country in the Asian Games as “ambassadors of India” Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore today made a fervent appeal to them to behave with dignity and responsibly on and off the field during the mega sporting event .
“It is a matter of great pride you (athletes) are representing the country in the Games and you have earned this privilege. When you take part in the Games and when you stay in the Games Village, you will lose your individual identity and your identity there is just one name that is ‘India’,” Rathore said at the send-off ceremony of the contingent.
Further elaborating the minister said “It is a big responsibility for you. Whatever you do on the field and off the field, please remember one thing that you are representing a billion strong nation. You have to act with responsibility. Whether it is the athletes or officials, everybody should remember this all the time,”
Exuding confidence that in Jakarta Asiad Indian sports persons will perform well and earn more medals, the minister said “You have been preparing for years now and must be having dreams (to win medals). Now you are approaching nearer to your event.
He advised the athletes to remain positive and confident that “those thousands of hours of your training and hard work will help you. Please don’t worry about the results too much and you should remain confident of your abilities. The results will come running after you,”
“I am witness to the courage and the confidence of Indian athletes has made a sea change as compared to the 1990s, whether it is a 15-year-old or a 40-year-old. I congratulate the IOA, the NSFs for preparing these athletes. We have to work collectively, nobody can work alone. Ultimately, it is for the good of Indian sports,” he said.
The minister made it clear that the selection process of the Asian Games contingent, we will leave it to the IOA and NSFs. It is best not to have too many cooks involved in the process. So, the responsibility of selection (of athletes) lies with the IOA,”
“We will pay due respect to what the IOA has recommended but of course if major issues or discrepancies are brought up to us we will look into it,”
“When I was an active sportsperson, I often heard that there is no money in the sports ministry. That is no longer the case. For the elite athletes, for those who are competing at the continental and world level, there will not be lack of money for funding.”
IOA president Narinder Batra, Secretary General Rajeev Mehta, Chef de Mission Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh were present at the ceremony.
Speaking on the occasion Batra expressed confidence sportspersons will return with more medals from the Asian Games than last time.
“We have named a 800-plus contingent, including 572 athletes and we will compete in 36 sports. I am hoping that we will get more medals then the last edition,” he said.
India is sending a 800-plus contingent, including 572 athletes, to the Asian Games, to be held from August 18 to September 2 in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang.
All the best to our athletes headed to Jakarta for #AsianGames2018, beginning 18th Aug.
You've trained hard. Now is your chance. Go for Gold, champs! Make us proud! pic.twitter.com/UjS76DKWLy
— Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) August 10, 2018