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Khelo India: Mascot 'Ashtalakshmi' symbolises how aspirations of North East getting new wings, says PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed Khelo India University Games on Monday being held across the seven states in the Northeast via a video message. PM Modi noted the mascot of the Khelo India University Games, i.e. Ashtalakshmi in the shape of a butterfly. PM who often calls the Northeast states Ashtalakshi said “making a butterfly the mascot in these games also symbolises how the aspirations of the North East are getting new wings.”

Conveying his best wishes to athletes the Prime Minister complimented them for creating a grand image of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ in Guwahati. "Play wholeheartedly, play fearlessly, win for yourself and your team, and even if you lose, do not fret. Every setback is an opportunity to learn", the Prime Minister said

PM-Modi-Khelo-India-University-NorthEastReflecting on the nationwide sports initiatives, Prime Minister Modi mentioned, alongwith the current Khelo India University Games in the Northeast, Khelo India Winter Games in Ladakh, Khelo India Youth Games in Tamil Nadu, Beach Games in Diu and remarked, "I am pleased to witness sports events being organized across every corner of India, from the North to the South and from the West to the East." He applauded the efforts of various state governments, including the Assam government, for their contributions to promoting sports and providing opportunities for youth to showcase their talents.

Addressing the changing societal perceptions towards sports, Prime Minister Modi emphasized the shift in parental attitudes, noting, previously, parents hesitated to involve their children in sports activities, fearing it would distract from academics. He highlighted the evolving mindset where parents now take pride in their children's achievements in sports, be it at the state, national, or international level.

Prime Minister Modi stressed the importance of celebrating and honouring athletes' achievements, stating, "Just as academic achievements are celebrated, we must develop a tradition of honouring those who excel in sports." He emphasized the need to learn from the NorthEast region's rich sports culture, where sports are celebrated fervently, inspiring athletes across disciplines from football to athletics, badminton to boxing, weightlifting to chess. Prime Minister Modi expressed confidence that athletes participating in the Khelo India University Games would not only gain valuable experiences but also contribute to the advancement of sports culture throughout India.

The Prime Minister highlighted the evolving ecosystem of opportunities for the youth, stating, "Whether it's Khelo India, Tops, or other initiatives, a new ecosystem of possibilities is being created for our young generation." He emphasized the government's efforts to create a conducive environment for athletes, from training facilities to scholarships, and a record budget allocation of over 3500 crore rupees for sports this year.

Prime Minister Modi proudly shared India's success in sporting events globally, affirming, He celebrated India's ability to compete on the international stage, citing remarkable achievements in various tournaments, including the World University Games where Indian athletes secured unprecedented success, winning a total of 26 medals in 2023 from just 4 in 2019. He also mentioned record medal haul in the Asian Games. “This is not just numbers of medals, these are proofs of what our athletes can achieve if they are helped with a scientific approach”, he added. 

Reflecting on the values instilled through sports, Prime Minister Modi emphasized, "Success in sports requires more than just talent; it demands temperament, leadership, teamwork, and resilience." He encouraged the youth to embrace sports not only for physical fitness but also for developing essential life skills, stating, "Those who play, also flourish."

Prime Minister Modi urged the athletes to explore the beauty of the North East region beyond the sports arena. He encouraged them to embark on post-event adventures, capture memories, and share their experiences on social media using the hashtag #NorthEastMemories. Additionally, he suggested learning a few local phrases to engage with the communities they visit, enhancing their cultural experience. PM Modi asked them to experiment with Bhashini App too.

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