Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra for his resilience and confidence during a breakfast interaction with the Tokyo-returned athletes in his official residence on Monday.
PM Modi while interacting with Neeraj, who won India’s first gold medal in track and field in the Olympics said: “After your second attempt, you celebrated straight away, this can only come on the back of a lot of confidence.” Neeraj replied, “Sir, confidence comes from training, my training was good, so I was confident as soon as I threw the javelin for the second time.”
Applauding the young athlete’s cool demeanor, the PM said: “I have seen that success doesn’t get to your head and loss doesn’t stay in your mind…”
Indian athletes returned from Tokyo with a haul of seven medals, the country’s best-ever show at the Olympics.
PM Modi also encouraged wrestler Vinesh Phogat, who suffered a shock quarterfinal defeat at the Games, to forget about the loss and look ahead. “You played so well. Don’t let the defeat settle in your mind,” the Prime Minister said. The PM reiterated: “Don’t let success get to your head and don’t let defeat stay in your heart.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting the members of India’s women’s hockey team, who finished fourth at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Photo: PTI – PTI
PM Modi, who took to Twitter last week to announce the renaming of the Khel Ratna to the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna in honour of the hockey wizard, told the bronze-winning men’s hockey team: “I congratulate everyone in the team for the win. You have paid the biggest homage to Major Dhyan Chand. And after getting inspired by you, I made the decision because I wanted to honour hockey.
Highlighting the country’s emotional connection to hockey, the PM said: “You have done wonders. Until India wins a medal in hockey, we don’t get the feeling the country has won something in Olympics.”
PM Modi had earlier spoken to the men’s hockey team captain Manpreet Singh after the side lost the semifinal clash against Belgium. India goalkeeper PR Sreejesh said the PM’s call acted as a big motivation for the side before the bronze medal match. “Sir, thank you for talking to us after our semifinal defeat. When we win everyone praises us, but you called us after our defeat and that was a big motivation for us,” Sreejesh said.
Prime Minister Modi also fulfilled his promise and had ice cream with two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu and interacted with every member of the Indian contingent.