Modi spent some light moments with the athletes, their coaches and family members at the breakfast meeting on Monday.
He asked PR Sreejesh, the goalkeeper of the bronze medal winning men’s hockey team if he had learned to speak Punjabi as the national team has many players from Punjab.
Drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh’s tall frame attracted the PM’s comment “kitni height hai” (how tall you are).
“You didn’t go to play volleyball?” PM asked him.
The hockey team presented the stick with the signatures of all the players to the PM.
Sprinter Dutee Chand, who crashed out in the first round of both the 100m and 200m races, gave a long introduction.
A memorable conversation with our Olympic heroes. https://t.co/leaG77TikG
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1629257419000
To that, PM Modi said: “If politicians listen to you, they will make you contest.”
“You are from Odisha and how did you speak Hindi so well? Of India’s population of 1.3 billion, 65 percent are youth. And among those youth only you (128 in Tokyo Olympics) were able to represent the country.
“It is an achievement in itself. Your every effort is an inspiration and it is not that only medal winners inspire others.”
In Pics: India’s stars of Tokyo Olympics shine in meeting organized by PM Narendra Modi
Neeraj Chopra ended India’s 121-year wait for a medal in track and field when he won gold in the men’s javelin throw event at the Tokyo Olympics (PTI Photo)
Modi also told Neeraj Chopra, PV Sindhu To whom churma and ice cream had been served as promised and Borgohain had said that he would auction the equipment he had presented to them.
Modi asked Chopra, “You have put your signature here. I will auction it, is it okay?” Modi asked Chopra, who smiled in response, when he presented her with a spear that he had used during the Games.
Silver medalist weightlifter Mirabai Chanu was asked about back pain a while back.
“You haven’t forgotten the people who helped you in your journey,” Modi said in reference to gifting to those truck drivers, Modi said during his formative years from his home to the training center in Manipur. Said in context.
When Borgohain presented a pair of gloves to him, Modi said: “Mey yeh pahenunga toh politics ka log bolega Modi gadbad karne wala hai.”
After describing Chopra as his favorite ‘churma’, the PM asked how the youngster was so sure of winning the gold after the second throw in the final that he raised his hands.
“After the second throw, you were in a winning mood and you were celebrating. Were you very confident?” PM asked the superstar javelin thrower.
“It was a surprise to me. I can see how you have that balance. Victory isn’t on your head chart, defeat didn’t stick in your mind. He looked at things while balancing (Success doesn’t go to your head and defeat) doesn’t knock you down) , I’ve noted that balance).”
Chopra said that the tough training gave her confidence and she focused only on her performance.
Modi narrated a story about former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, whose remarks about ‘gulab jamun’ led to the sweets being served mostly when he attended an event.
From eating ice cream and churma to discussing good health and fitness, from inspirational tales to light moments… https://t.co/rhFwNoiXaV
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 16292535555000
“Atalji once talked about Gulab Jamun at a function and it was featured in the newspapers. So, when he is at a function it is mostly Gulab Jamun. Hence, a circular to release it later. require that there should be other things also. Served in their works.”
At the hockey players’ table, Modi told Sreejesh that in cricket the wicketkeeper is shown all the time (on TV) while the hockey goalkeeper is not known (by people) even after winning an Olympic medal.
When Mary Kom apologized that she could not bring a medal this time, the PM said: “You have contributed a lot to Indian sports and because of you the country has grabbed the attention of women sportspersons. You have done a lot.”
When Deepika apologized for not bringing the medal, Modi said, ‘Sorry, will you leave Umaid, will not be a player. Modi even held Deepika up to the microphone to speak.
Modi then asked Sindhu’s coach Park Tae-sang, a South Korean, to come to Ayodhya.
“Have you ever been to Ayodhya? Your President’s wife, the first lady, came to Ayodhya as a special guest at a function. You should visit Ayodhya and know its history.”