Stay calm, sleep well: PM Modi tells Paris-bound athletes; asks for mom-made ‘churma’ from Neeraj

The upcoming Games will be held from July 26 to August 11 and India would be hoping to better its best ever tally of seven medals, including Chopra's historic javelin throw gold, achieved in the Tokyo Games.

Updated - July 05, 2024 01:09 pm IST

Published - July 05, 2024 11:37 am IST - New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with the Olympic-bound athletes in New Delhi on July 4, 2024. Photo: X/@narendramodi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with the Olympic-bound athletes in New Delhi on July 4, 2024. Photo: X/@narendramodi

Neeraj Chopra shared his fitness concerns, P V Sindhu talked about the significance of self-belief and Nikhat Zareen could barely hide her excitement about being a first-time Olympian during a light-hearted interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who advised the Paris-bound group to stay calm and sleep well for best results.

The interaction, held on July 4, also featured the men’s hockey team and the 21-strong shooting contingent in person, while some others, including Chopra, Sindhu and Zareen, joined online from their respective training bases abroad.

Chopra, who has been troubled by an adductor niggle for the past couple of months, said he wants to reach Paris “fully fit” to defend his Olympic gold in javelin throw.

  

“We are now training in Germany and it is going very well. This time I am playing in less competitions because on and off I am suffering from an injury. But now it is a lot better, a few days back I played a competition in Finland and that was pretty good,” Chopra told the Prime Minister, referring to his top finish in the Paavo Nurmi Games last month.

“We have one month before the Olympics and I am trying to reach Paris completely fit and give 100 per cent for my country,” he added.

“Olympics comes in four years and I would like to tell every athlete that you get this chance once in four years and we must try to find out what is that thing which can push us to give our best.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi poses for a photo with the Indian Contingent heading to the Paris Olympic 2024, in New Delhi on July 4, 2024.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi poses for a photo with the Indian Contingent heading to the Paris Olympic 2024, in New Delhi on July 4, 2024. | Photo Credit: ANI

Be fearless: Chopra advises athletes

Neeraj Chopra advised his fellow Paris-bound athletes to be fearless while competing in the world’s biggest sporting extravaganza.

“Tokyo was my first Olympics and in first Olympics, the result was pretty good, I won gold for the country. There was no fear in my mind, and I had self belief because I had good training,” he said.

“I would tell every athlete not to fear anyone or anything. We don’t have to fear Europeans or Americans because they are also human beings like us.

“If we can recognise ourselves, we have been living outside our homes for long time and training hard, so nothing is impossible.”

Promises mom-made Churma for PM Modi

After returning from Tokyo Olympics, Chopra had promised homemade Churma (a popular sweet delicacy in Haryana) to Mr. Modi during his meeting with him but Mr. Modi reminded the dashing javelin thrower that he was yet to keep his word.

“I will bring Churma for you this time. Last time in Delhi, I got churma made in sugar but I will bring desi ghee and gur (jaggery) churma from Haryana (this time),” Chopra responded.

To this, Mr. Modi replied: “No I want to eat churma made at home by your mother.”

Have sound sleep, keep your focus: PM Modi

Emphasising that winning and losing are a part of any sport, Mr. Modi advised the Paris-bound athletes to stay calm and also never compromise on their sleep schedule because of competition anxiety.

“Don’t get lost in the magnitude of the Olympics because that can break your focus. We need to have faith in our talent, and the focus should be on it and it will produce results,” Mr. Modi said in his address.

“Whether yuou get medals or not, there is no issue, just give your 100 per cent which is important.” Mr. Modi also emphasised on the need to give the body ample rest. “In the world of sports, practice and consistency are important, but the same level of importance should also be given to sleep. Good sleep is very important for sports or any other field.

“It is important to sleep free of all stress, don’t compromise on sleep. We tried to give the best facilities to you, we have tried to give you all comfort.” Wishing the contingent all the very best, Mr. Modi also promised to invite the Olympic-bound athletes to this year’s Independence Day programme.

“I wish you all the very best. I will try to invite you all to the Independence Day programme in Red Fort after you come back from Paris.”

Athletes confident

Two-time Olympic medallist Sindhu is eyeing a hat-trick in Paris but her only desire is to change the colour of the medal.

“It is my third Olympics, in 2016 I won silver, in Tokyo it was a bronze but this time I hope to change the colour of the medal.

“Obviously I am experienced enough, but it is not going to be easy but I will try my best,” she said while interacting with the PM.

Two-time world championship gold-medallist boxer Zareen (women’s 50kg) also wants to live upto her top billing in her maiden Olympics.

“...I am excited but at the same time I am focussed because there are expectations from me from the entire nation. I want to live up to their expectations and make the country proud and return,” she said.

Indian men’s hockey team, which won a bronze in Tokyo, too expects another podium finish.

“It was a proud moment for us because the history of hockey in the country is big. We are giving our best, putting in hard work and hope to bring back a medal,” skipper Harmanpreet said.

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