NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met the Indian athletes who will represent the country at the forthcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and wished them luck.
At the function held at the Maneckshaw Centre, PM Modi interacted individually with the sportspersons, and wished them luck for the August 5-21 Games.
The dignitaries who attended the function were Sports Minister Jitendra Singh, Sports Secretary Rajiv Yadav, All India Council of Sports (AICS) Chairman Vijay Malhotra, Indian Olympic Association President N Ramachandran, Secretary General Rajeev Mehta, Hockey India President Narinder Batra, HI Secretary General Mohammed Mushtaq Ahmed among others.
India will be sending its biggest ever contingent to the Olympics this year with more than 100 athletes having already qualified in 13 sporting disciplines. The previous highest was 83 that the country sent in the 2012 Olympics in London.
More athletes are likely to qualify in the coming days, and the Sports Ministry and the IOA are expecting more than 110 to represent the country in the Games.
Notable athletes who met the Prime Minister today were shooters Jitu Rai, Manavjit Singh Sandhu, Heena Sidhu, shuttlers PV Sindhu, K Srikanth, boxer Shiva Thapa, long distance runners Sudha Singh and Lalita Babar among others.
The Indian women’s hockey team along with chief coach Neil Hawgood and coach C R Kumar were also in attendance.
National badminton coach Pullela Gopichand and boxing coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu were also part of the gathering.
During the send-off function the athletes were seen taking selfies with the PM and his autographs.
“Great to meet our Honourable PM Shri @narendramodi ji…Thank you for all your support.jai hind????” boxer Shiva Thapa later tweeted.
Several of the Rio-qualified athletes gave the function a miss as they are currently training abroad.–PTI