Legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, on Sunday, remarked that the journey to bigger stardom has just begun for the Rio Olympic medallists shuttler P.V. Sindhu and wrestler Sakshi Malik and gymnast Dipa Karmakar who missed a medal by a whisker in the recent Rio Olympics.
“You have all done the entire country proud. We all know how focussed you were in the run-up to the Olympics during preparatory phase and even in Rio also where you were not accessible to remind about the intensity in the preparations,” Sachin said at the presentation of BMW cars to the three athletes and also the chief national badminton coach Pullela Gopi Chand.
“Now is the time to go for gold in the next Olympics and we are all with you to see many more wonderful moments in your career. Keep going and keep winning medals,” Tendulkar said.
Looking at Gopi, Sachin observed: “You are wonderful. Always showing that urge to produce champions. Shown great qualities as a coach. You are a role model for all and wish you many more laurels.” Everyone looked up to you.
Sachin, accompanied by his wife Anjali who were in Hyderabd to attend a wedding, reminded that the entire country prayed for you and showered their blessings. “This is what every athlete looks for in their pursuit for excellence,” he added.
Replying to the felicitation, Sakshi thanked all those who showed their love and affection and promised to go for gold in next the Tokyo Olympics.
“I am grateful to JSW, Railways, Sachin Sir for all their best wishes,” she said.
And, she quipped that her brother is a big fan of Sachin and they all wanted to have a selfie with him.
Gymnast Dipa Karmakar was crisp in her response thanking all for the support and encouragement.
Local girl Sindhu recalled that when Sachin presented a car to her last time he promised to present another one if she wins an Olympic medal. “My dream has come true and I thank all and especially Gopi Sir,” she said. “Definitely, I will try my best to keep winning laurels at the highest level,” she added.
For his part Gopi congratulated all the champion athletes present on the occasion.
“You have made the entire nation proud with your fantastic efforts and wish you many more successes at the highest level,” he said.
Gopi taking a line from the Save the girl campaign of the Union Government, he said it was the girls who saved India in the recent Rio Olympics.
The former All England champion also recalled the financial help he got from entrepreneur Nimmagadda Prasad who had come forward when struggling to raise funds for the construction of his Badminton Academy in the early stages. “Today what I am is to a large extent because of him,” he said.
Gopi thanked Sachin for gracing the occasion and said the latter was always a huge source of inspiration before, during and after the Rio Olympics.
Thanking V. Chamundeswaranath (more familiar as Chamundi in sporting circles) for taking the initiative in presenting the cars. “He was also instrumental in presenting cars on 13 previous occasions to outstanding sportspersons.”
“It is not these cars which matter a lot. His small gestures in sponsoring a knee cap or soul or a shuttle racket to the need have always been very encouraging,” Gopi said.