Tokyo Olympics: PM Modi highlights how Bhavani Devi and Shivpal Singh overcame adversities to qualify for Olympics in ‘Mann ki Baat’: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday gave a special mention to athletes Bhavani Devi and Shivpal Singh, who have overcome adversities to attain qualification for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
Tokyo Olympics was slated to be held last year, but it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now it will be held from July 23-August 8 this year. Over 110 athletes from India have so far qualified for the Games and the final number should be between 120 to 130. “In our country, most of the sportspersons hail from the smaller towns and villages. Our team that is going to Tokyo too has many such players whose life inspires a lot. When you hear about our Praveen Jadhav ji, then you too will feel… how many difficulties Praveen has gone through to reach here. Praveen hails from a village in the Satara district of Maharashtra. He is very good at Archery. His parents run the family by working as labourers and now their son is going to participate in his first Olympics in Tokyo. This is a matter of great pride not only for his parents but for all of us,” said PM Modi during his monthly radio programme Mann Ki Baat.
“Similarly, there is one more player, our Neha Goyal ji. Neha is a member of the women’s hockey team going to Tokyo. Her mother and sisters manage the family expenses by working in a cycle factory. Like Neha, Deepika Kumari ji’s life too has been full of ups and downs. Deepika’s father drives an auto-rickshaw and her mother is a nurse, and now see, Deepika is at present the only female archer from India in the Tokyo Olympics. Our best wishes are with Deepika, once ranked world’s number one archer,” he added.
Modi also highlighted the importance of staying true to your roots no matter how much success one achieves in life. He gave the example of Priyanka Goswami on how she overcame challenges to make a name for herself in Race-Walking competition.
“Friends, wherever we reach in life, whatever height we attain this connection with the ground, always, keeps us bound to our roots. The joy of success experienced after a period of struggle is something else! Our players going to Tokyo faced a scarcity of means and resources in their childhood, but they persevered, and endured with fortitude. The life of Priyanka Goswami Ji of Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh also teaches a lot. Priyanka’s father is a bus conductor. As a child, Priyanka adored the bag that the medal winners were presented with. It was this fascination that made her participate in the Race-Walking competition for the first time. Now, she is a big champion of that,” said Modi.
“Shivpal Singh ji, who participates in Javelin Throw, hails from Banaras. Shivpalji’s entire family is associated with this sport. His father, uncle, and brother are all experts at javelin throw. This family tradition is going to be useful for him in the Tokyo Olympics. The example of Chirag Shetty and his partner SatwikSairaj going for the Tokyo Olympics is also inspiring. Recently, Chirag’s maternal grandfather died of COVID-19. Satwik himself also became corona positive last year. But, despite these hurdles, both of them are preparing to give their best in the Men’s Double Shuttle Competition,” he added.
Further giving some more examples, Modi said: “I would like to introduce you to another player, Manish Kaushik Ji of Bhiwani, Haryana. Manish Ji comes from an agricultural family. While working in the fields in his childhood, Manish became fond of boxing. Today this hobby of his is taking him to Tokyo. There is another player, C.A. Bhavani Devi Her name is Bhavani and she is adroit at fencing. Bhavani, who hails from Chennai, is the first Indian fencer to qualify in the Olympics. I was reading somewhere that in order for Bhavani ji’s training to continue, her mother had even mortgaged her jewellery.”
“Friends, there are numerous such names, but in Mann Ki Baat, today I have been able to mention only a few. Every player going to Tokyo has had one’s own share of struggle, and years of toil. They are going not only for themselves but for the country. These players also have to enhance the glory of India and win the hearts of the people and that is why my countrymen I want to advise you too, that we should not pressurize these players knowingly or unknowingly, but support them with an open mind and bolster the enthusiasm of every player,” he added.