PM Modi lays emphasis on developing sporting talent at grassroots level

GORAKHPUR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid stress on Thursday on developing sporting talent at the grassroots level and said the Centre has increased the sports ministry's budget by three times since 2014.

He also highlighted the importance of promoting millets, popularly known as "mota aanaj", for the better health of youngsters.

The prime minister was virtually addressing the "Saansad Khel Mahakumbh" event being held at Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and local MP Ravi Kishan were present at the venue of the event.

Recalling the time when sports and games were part of village fairs where such activities were organised in the "akhadas", Modi lamented that these traditions are fading away.

He referred to the physical education classes in schools that were relegated to "time-pass periods" and said this had led to the country losing three or four generations of sporting talent.

Hailing events like "Saansad Khel Mahakumbh", Modi said, "Competitions at the regional level not only showcase local talent, but also boost the morale of the sportspersons in the entire region."

"The Saansad Khel Mahakumbh is a new route, a new system," he said, adding that it has a huge role to play in highlighting the country's potential in the world of sports.

"Saansad Khel Mahakumbh lays the robust foundation of a grand infrastructure for the future of sports," the prime minister said.

He noted that all athletes have worked hard to reach this level and underlined that victory and defeat are part of sports as well as life.

Commenting on the commendable and inspiring "Saansad Khel Mahakumbh" initiative, Modi said folk singers, dancers, painters and musicians have also taken part in it.

"Be it those from the field of sports or arts or music, their spirit and energy are all the same," the prime minister, who is the MP from neighbouring Varanasi, said.

This was the third "Saansad Khel Mahakumbh" event that Modi attended in the last few weeks.

Earlier, he had virtually addressed such events in Basti.

The prime minister reiterated the idea of creating new ways and systems if the country has to become a force to reckon with in the world of sports.

Highlighting the growing popularity of such events, he noted that 20,000 athletes had taken part in the first edition of the Gorakhpur Khel Mahakumbh and the number has gone up to 24,000, including 9,000 female athletes.

( Source : PTI )
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