New Delhi, July 23: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today (July 23) called for promotion of sports in the country, saying that this can go a long way in helping national integration.
Digitally launching the Reliance Foundation Youth Sports initiative, which claims to India's largest multi-city school and college sports competition, Modi said youngsters should take to sports to become strong individuals.
"Sports should be an integral part of our everyday life. Some people think that sports is important only for physical well-being, I feel sports is important for overall development of an individual.
"We are a large and diverse nation. Sports can be a great means of national integration," Modi said after interacting with kids from around the country via video-conferencing.
"From sports, we learn sportsman spirit and that acts as a lubricant in our social life. More than winning, sports
helps you learn to deal with defeats. Sports helps you become a fighter," he said.
"Sports teaches you not to lose heart after defeats," he added.
The PM said sports is an acronym for skill, perseverance, optimism, resilience, tenacity and stamina.
Reliance Foundation Youth Sports initiative is in sync with the Government of India, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports' vision of 'Khelo India'.
For the inaugural year, RFYS will have football competitions in eight cities in four categories i.e. Junior Boys (Grade 7 - 10); Senior Boys (Grade 11 - 12); Senior Girls (Grade 11 12) and College Boys (Graduate institutes).
Participating teams across categories will compete in city qualifiers beginning August, followed by City Championships in October/November and finals to be played in January/February 2017.
Reliance Foundation will fund and develop the sports programmes as well as create a talent scouting pool in all disciplines to provide scholarships to the deserving children.
Nita Ambani, Founder and Chairperson, Reliance Foundations said, "We are extremely honoured to have our Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to inaugurate and support the Reliance Foundation Youth Sports. RFYS aims to create a unified structure of school and college competitions across sports to promote participation of young athletes.
"It has been my dream to see India develop as a multi-sports nation. I truly believe that sports can develop the youth in our country and inculcate values of self-discipline, sportsmanship, team spirit, leadership, integrity as well as promote a healthy lifestyle.
"Our vision is to promote and encourage large participation across multi-sports discipline in over 50 plus cities by 2020 and create opportunities for youngsters to take up sports as professional careers," she added.
Reliance Foundation Youth Sports has set up a six member advisory board consisting of educationalists and leading sports personalities to guide the thinking and expansion for this initiative.
The advisory board consists of Nita Ambani, Sachin Tendulkar, Leander Paes, and Saina Nehwal among others.