Speaking on the occasion, he said sports brings about a spirit of amity and belongingness among nations of the world. May the FIFA World Cup become a bridge for connecting nations together, he said.
Stating that India is preparing to host the under-17 FIFA World Cup, the Prime Minister said India had a glorious history in football, and it was at one time a prominent sport across the country. He urged the Department of Posts to also develop a website on the history of Indian football.
Stressing on the need to inculcate the love of sports among children, Shri Modi said – “jo khele, wo hi khile” – Sports helps in all-round development of a child. Referring to the term “Sportsman Spirit”, the Prime Minister referred to the toil and penance of countless sportspersons across the world, which resulted in this term getting such universal acceptance and recognition in a positive sense. If there is no sport, how can there be sportsman spirit in society, Shri Modi asked? He said “Sportsman Spirit” is a lubricant for the health of the society, which is essential for it to prosper.
The Prime Minister observed that commentary, especially radio commentary, probably played a key role in enhancing the popularity of cricket, and the art of commentary should be developed in other sports as well.
The function was attended by several prominent sporting icons including K. Malleswari, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Sunil Chhetri, Sushil Kumar, Ajit Pal Singh, Chunni Goswami, Subrat Bhattacharya, and Kirti Azad. Shri Praful Patel, President, All India Football Federation, and Shri Anurag Thakur were also present on the occasion. Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad and Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Sarbananda Sonowal also spoke on the occasion.