Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday wished the Commonwealth Games-bound Indian athletes all the success in the quadrennial multi-sporting event in Gold Coast and said a good performance will evoke a “sense of pride” among the people of the country.
Rajnath made a brief appearance at the send-off ceremony of the contingent organised by the Indian Olympic Assiociation. His deputy Kiren Rijiju was also present on the occasion, along with IOA president Narinder Batra and secretary general Rajeev Mehta.
“I am fully confident that the players who are going to the Commonwealth Games will bring laurels to the country. When a country becomes an economic power there is a sense of pride among the people of the country. Similarly, when a sportsperson brings laurels to the country, it evokes a sense of pride among the people of the whole country,” the Home Minister said.
After his brief speech, Rajnath posed with the Indian contingent for a photograph and then left immediately, leaving behind Rijiju as a representative of the government. Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore is currently in Bangalore on an official visit to that city and could not attend today’s event.
“I wanted to be present here on this occasion because I want to boost the morale of the players before their journey to take part in the CWG. So, I told Sudhanshu Mittal (BJP politician and IOA vice-president) that I will come even if I have to be here for half a minute,” Rajnath said, apologising profusely for not being able to spend more time due to some other engagements.
Rijiju, on his part, asked the Indian contingent to not only return with a big haul of medals from Australia but also to compete in the spirit of the game.
“The objective should be to win as many medals as possible. But it is also important to enjoy your game and play with the spirit of the game. You should think that you are fortunate to be representing the country and to be playing under the tri-colour. You should not do anything which will bring bad name to this country inside or outside the field of play,” said the BJP leader from Arunachal Pradesh.
“We need to develop a sporting culture in this country. India is a powerhouse as far as Commonwealth Games is concerned, we topped the medal table in the 2010 Delhi Games. But the real battle is at Olympics. We have to do well in the Olympic Games to become a sporting power,” said the minister who was earlier a vice-president of Archery Association of India.
India are sending 222 athletes in the April 4-15 Gold Coast CWG, the second biggest team ever. The contingent leaves the country on Friday.