Remarks made by the President of India at the special event in Rashtrapati Bhavan to felicitate on the India's Contingent to London Olympics
Welcome to the Rashtrapati Bhavan. I congratulate the Indian Contingent- the athletes, the coaches, the support staff and officials for India's success in the London Olympics. This year's performance has been the best ever by India in the Olympics. Our athletes not only won six medals but also competed strongly in many events, demonstrating their prowess and calibre.
Winning in sports is all about hard-work, team spirit and single minded dedication to the set target. It is also about inculcating sportsman like spirit which comprises of a sense of fairplay and courage under pressure.
Those who won medals deserve the highest of praise. I extend my heartfelt compliments to them. But those who did not, also, deserve equal appreciation and encouragement. Each one of you have done your best for India. India is proud of all of you and what you have achieved in London.
The winners of the medals- Gagan Narang, Saina Nehwal, Vijay Kumar, MC Mary Kom, Yogeshwar Dutt and Sushil Kumar deserve special accolades. Through their success, we have broken through the glass ceiling of our past. What is now needed is a little more determination and perseverance. Our athletes must now cross the last mile. I am confident that If we set our minds to the task, India can join the ranks of leading sporting nations of the world.
Compared to the medal drought India has undergone since independence, six medals appear a good harvest. However, a nation of 1.2 billion people must do better. India deserves a position higher than the No.55 which we have attained in the London Olympics.
There is no time to rest on laurels. We must collectively lift our nation to greater heights. The onus for doing so is not just on our athletes and sports authorities. It must become the duty of every citizen to promote a sporting culture in our country.
A strong sporting nation can be built only on the foundation of sound sports infrastructure. We must create sports facilities across the country and nurture talent from the grassroots. Schools and colleges should inculcate in students a passion for outdoor activities and competitive sports. Major corporates must sponsor, fund and help identify as well as nurture talent.
We must create the soft capabilities and management excellence in sports administration which can lift our sports persons to record breaking heights.
Our athletes must attain further excellence and at the same time actively train the talented youth of our country so that they turn into the next generation of sports stars.
The whole of India rejoices at what all of you achieved in London. Let this, at the same time, be a moment when we re-dedicate ourselves to the building of India's sporting future.
Let preparations for the next Olympics begin from today itself.
Let us set our goals high and tell ourselves- 'Rio, here we come'.
I am confident that nothing less than a 'medal spring' awaits us at the next Olympics.