Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said India's improving sports performance is a reflection of the country's rising confidence as he paid tributes to hockey wizard Dhyan Chand on his birth anniversary, which is celebrated as the National Sports Day.
Launching the 'Fit India Movement', aimed at encouraging people to include physical activity and sports in their everyday lives, here, Modi said the initiative is a fitting tribute to Dhyan Chand on his 114th birth anniversary.
"It's a day to congratulate all the athletes who are taking the tri-colour to new highs. Be it boxing, badminton, tennis or any other sport, our athletes are giving new wings to our aspirations," Modi said.
Every year on Dhyan Chand's birth anniversary, the country celebrates its sporting heroes by honouring them with the National Sports Awards -- the highest of them being the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna. This year the top honours have been shared by Asian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist wrestler Bajrang Punia and Paralympics shot put silver-medallist Deepa Malik.
"My wishes to everyone on the National Sports Day. It was today that we got a great sportsperson in Major Dhyan Chand. With his fitness, stamina and hockey stick, he mesmerised the world. I respectfully bow to Major Dhyan Chand," he said.
Modi lauded the country's sporting fraternity for the rising medal count across all sports. "Their medals are not just a result of their hard work but also a reflection of a new India's confidence. I am happy that in the last five years, we have tried to create a better atmosphere for sports, which is showing results," he said.