Prime Minister Narendra Modi turns 72 today. He was born on September 17, in 1950 in Vadnagar in Gujarat. The Prime Minister has a special connection with the athletes. Even if he has a tight schedule, he makes sure he meets the athletes who come back after either winning or taking part in a tournament abroad. When the Olympic Champion Neeraj Chopra came back after winning the gold medal, India’s 2nd only individual medal in the Games, he met the prime minister and gifted him the javelin with which he won the historic medal. That javelin was eventually auctioned off and the proceeds went to ‘Namami Gange Programme’.
The PM did not meet only the gold medallist but invited all the 120 athletes who went to represent India at Tokyo Olympics. He did the same with the Commonwealth Games medallists recently.
Zee News English spoke with some star Indian athletes who recounted their experience of meeting the Prime Minister. Here’s what they had to say.
Vivek Sagar Prasad, member, India men’s hockey team which clinched bronze medal in Tokyo Olympics:
“The best thing about our PM is that he always tells players to play with a free mind and not take any pressure. He says that enjoy your game. He always speaks to us over call and meets every body after a big event. He treats medallists and even those who fail to win. Speaking to him gives us a lot of motivation. Happy birthday to Narendra Modiji.”
Boxer Nikhat Zareen, world champion and CWG 2022 gold medallist:
“My experience with hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi sir was quite fun. I was very nervous in the beginning. I was wondering how the meeting would go. But when it started, Sir started talking to us like one of our family members. He made us really comfortable. He asked me about my experience at the World championships , how many countries there were and the toughest opponent. He then appreciated me by saying that you have made the country proud and it makes us all happy. He motivated us a lot. I felt really nice. We also asked him for a selfie and an autograph. He agreed to fulfill our wish. It was a lovely interaction with him. I also met him after the CWG. He asked me why I only thought of giving a gold medal to my mom as a birthday gift and also asked me about my experience at the games. I’m really humbled by his personality.”
Indian badminton has been setting new standards of excellence over the years. Chirag Shetty is one of our promising badminton stars, who won two medals at the 2018 Games. @Shettychirag04 pic.twitter.com/agrKzJYJ7i
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 30, 2018
Honoured to gift the boxing gloves signed by all the pugilists to our honorable Prime Minister @narendramodi sir. Thank you for this amazing opportunity._
Shuttler Chirag Shetty, CWG 20022 gold medallist:
“Really wonderful experience of meeting the PM. I have never a PM, here in India or anywhere in the world, promoting sports like he does. After the Olympic Games, usually the medallists are called to the PM residence to meet the PM. But this time all 120 athletes came and met him and he made it a point to meet each one of us. There were 120 athletes and 40 to 50 support staff. He spoke to each one of them. I think he went way beyond his stipulated time. The event was meant to get over at 10 o’ clock. It got extended to 11.30. What he did that day, speaking to even non-athletes, nobody would have ever done. It made us happy and motivated us to whole different level. Because to speak to someone of his calibre is simply incredible. I am really happy that we have a PM like Modiji.”