‘Be fit to be superhit’, Modi advises athletes.

The youth of Rajasthan have turned battlefields into sports fields, Prime Minister Narendra Modi remarked on Sunday while addressing a gathering at Jaipur Mahakhel, a sports tournament organised by Olympics medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who represents the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Parliament from Jaipur Rural.

“The youth of Rajasthan always come ahead of the rest when it comes to the security of the nation,” Modi said via videoconferencing before watching a kabbadi match. The tournament, held every year since 2017, is focussing on kabbadi in this year’s iteration.

The sporting tradition of Rajasthan has shaped the mental and physical capabilities of the youth of the region, the Prime Minister said, citing examples of traditional games like dada, sitolia and rumal jhapatta that are organised during Makar Sankranti in January and have been a part of Rajasthan’s tradition for hundreds of years.

Players grace the sports field not just to participate but to win and learn, Modi said. “Victory is ensured when there is learning involved,” he said. “In the Amrit Kaal of independence, the country is forging new definitions and creating a new order.”

Sporting activities are finally being viewed from the athlete’s perspective rather than from a political perspective, the Prime Minister said, citing this year’s Union budget to assert that his government has been supportive of the growth of sports in the country.

The sports ministry has been allocated a budget of 2,500 crore for 2023-24, compared to 800-850 crore allocated before 2014. “The sports budget of the country has increased almost three times since 2014,” Modi said. More than 1,000 crore have been allocated to the government’s Khelo India campaign alone, which will be spent on the development of sports facilities and resources in the country, he added.

“Our government is attentive that no youth should be left behind due to lack of money,” Modi said, adding that the central government is now supporting best performing players up to 5 lakh annually. The amount given in major sports awards has also been increased up to three times. Giving examples of schemes like TOPS, which allows players to prepare for the Olympics for years, the Prime Minister said the government stands with the country’s aspiring players.

He emphasised on the need to maintain fitness not only in sports arenas but in daily life as well. “You will be fit, only then you will be superhit,” Modi said.

Rathore hailed the contribution of the BJP-run towards sports infrastructure in the country.

“Sportspeople of my era are witnesses to the plight of sports under previous governments. Now we see the facilities and honour given to sportspersons,” he said.

The Prime Minister also spoke about 2023 being the International Year of Millets and noted that Rajasthan is home to a very rich tradition of millets. “Rajasthan’s Shree Anna Bajra and Shree Anna Jawar are the identity of this place,” he said, mentioning the bajra porridge and churma made in the region. He appealed to youth to not just include Shree Anna in their diet, but also become its brand ambassador.

Source- Hindustan Times.