New Delhi, Aug 9 : India's success at the Tokyo Olympic Games reflects New India's desire to dominate the world, even in sports, Youth Affairs and Sports Minister, Anurag Thakur, said as he felicitated the medallists who brought laurels to the country, at a function here on Monday.
"The success of Team India at the Olympics is a reflection of how New India desires and aspires to dominate the world...even in sports. The Olympic Games showed us that with self-discipline and dedication we can be champions," Thakur said at a function organised by the Ministry at the Ashoka Hotel here to celebrate India's success at the Tokyo Olympics that concluded on Sunday.
"Team India excelled and inspired while Indians cheered and celebrated all around. Truly, sports is a great unifier as our athletes come from villages and cities, north to south, from east to west. Their journey is an incredible story of resilience and sporting excellence," the minister added.
Among those who were felicitated at the event on Monday were Neeraj Chopra, the first Indian to win a gold medal in athletics and only the second from the country to win an individual gold medal in the Olympics, wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Mirabai Chanu, both of whom won silver medals, and bronze medallists PV Sindhu (badminton), Bajrang Punia (wrestling), boxer Lovlina Borgohain and members of the men's hockey team.
Also present at the gala felicitation programme at the Ashoka Hotel were Union Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju and Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Nisith Pramanik.
Gold medallist Chopra, silver medallist Dahiya, bronze medallists Punia, Lovlina and the hockey team returned home after a long flight on Monday after attending the closing ceremony of Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Sunday night.
The Sports Minister further said that there were many firsts for India at Tokyo. "A 128-member Indian contingent, seven Olympic medals, our first Olympic gold medal in athletics, two successive medals in consecutive Olympic Games by PV Sindhu, a medal (bronze) won by the Indian men's team in hockey after a gap of 41 years and a historic entry to the semifinals by the women's hockey team," he said.
"We also had the first female sailor from India to qualify for the Olympics -- Nethra Kumanan, first Indian fencer from India to make it to the Olympics -- Bhavani Devi, the best place achieved by an Indian in equestrian eventing -- Fouaad Mirza, the best-ever finish for Indian rowers, the highest-placed finish by an Indian in golf by Aditi Ashok and a national record was set in steeplechase by Avinash Sable," he said as he listed the major achievements by the Indian contingent.
"And let me add, the foundations of sports in India are firm; under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership various schemes such as TOPS and Khelo India have shown results ensuring podium finish. We will continue to support our sportspersons and we endeavour to make India a sporting powerhouse," the minister affirmed.
Former Sports Minister Rijiju praised the performances of the athletes and reiterated that India will be a force to reckon with by the 2028 Olympics. "I am thrilled beyond words to share this space with our champion athletes today. This is a historic event with India registering its best-ever performance in the Olympics," said Rijiju.
"We have much to be proud of; we have a hockey medal after 41 years and a first-ever gold in athletics. And it's not just our medal winners, each athlete has put their best in Tokyo and I congratulate all of them. This is just the beginning because India's resurgence in sport is visible now and I am confident that by 2028 Olympics India will be a force to reckon with," Rijiju mentioned.
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