"We see hope in you and not just medals," said Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur while felicitating India's World Athletics U20 Championships medal winners, here on Wednesday.
India bagged two silver medals, through long jumper Shaili Singh and 10,0000m race walker Amit Khatri, and a bronze medal through the mixed 4x400m relay team of Barath Sridhar, Priya Mohan, Summy and Kapil in Nairobi.
Addressing the gathering, Thakur sought suggestions from the young athletes to improve the sports ecosystem in the country. He then said that there would be several initiatives taken by the government to help nurture the culture of sports in India.
"You (junior athletes) are an inspiration for other sportspersons in the country," he said. "You have done a tremendous job in getting us laurels even at this difficult time of pandemic, your journey has been outstanding and I assure you that no compromises will be made in helping you in your sporting journey," he said.
The minister further recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said sports is about dedication, determination and hard work and all our athletes are winners in their own right when he told athletes, who did not win any medal, to not feel disheartened.
Thakur also said that he is happy to learn that former champions are becoming coaches and this is a good sign for the welfare of sports. Also present were World Championships long jump medallist Anju Bobby George, chief coach (junior) Kamal Ali Khan and other dignitaries from the ministry, Athletics Federation of India and Sports Authority of India.
17-year-old Shaili's coach, Robert Bobby George, who was present at the function, said that to promote the culture of sports India needs to work towards changing the attitude of parents. He said that parents need to make sports an integral part of their wards' curriculum.