New Delhi: Six-time world Mary Kom on Tuesday revealed that boxing legend Muhammad Ali is her favourite and she continues to take inspiration from him.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday interacted with the Olympic-bound contingent who would be looking to make the country proud at the upcoming Tokyo Games, beginning July 23. “Mary Kom Ji, you are an athlete from whom the entire country takes inspiration.
In these Olympics, many athletes would be looking up to you. I just wanted to ask you who is your favourite sportsperson? Mary Ji, you have won almost every competition in the world, you had said that winning the Olympic gold is your dream. This is not just your dream, but it is the country’s dream.
Everyone is confident that you will fulfill that dream,” said PM Modi during the session.
Replying to the Prime Minister, Mary Kom said: “When I talk about boxers, my favourite has to be Muhammad Ali. I take inspiration from him.”
Speaking to paddler Sharath Kamal, PM Modi said: “You have been playing for so long, have you noticed any change regarding table tennis between now and then? You are such an important member of our contingent, you would look after our team, I am confident of that and I wish you well for the upcoming Games.”
Replying to the Prime Minister’s question, the paddler said: “When I won the medal in 2006 (Commonwealth Games), professionalism was not there in sports but now this is not the case, everyone is giving a lot of importance to sports. Parents now have the confidence that if their child follows their passion in sport, he can do well.”
During the session, PM Modi also spoke to paddler Manika Batra and lauded her for using her free time to teach children how to excel in sports.
The virtual video conferencing session was started by Union Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Anurag Thakur wherein he introduced PM Modi and he thanked him for taking out the time to boost the morale of the athletes.
MoS Nisith Pramanik and Law Minister Kiren Rijiju were also present along with Indian Olympic Association President Narinder Batra.
Athletes such as Mary Kom (boxer), Sania Mirza (tennis), Manika Batra (table tennis), Dutee Chand (sprinter), Deepika Kumari (archery) and Sajan Prakash (swimmer) were all part of the session.
“It is an honour and privilege for every member of the contingent to get to speak to the Prime Minister before they depart for the Olympics. Our athletes will compete in 85 events in which they can win a medal,” said Batra during the session.
A total of 126 athletes across 18 sports disciplines from India will be heading to Tokyo. This is the biggest-ever contingent India is sending to any Olympics. The 69 cumulative events across the 18 sport disciplines that India will participate in are also the highest ever for the country.