Meerut: At the felicitation ceremony for India’s Tokyo Paralympics medallists organised in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the state has made significant efforts to foster sports culture in the span of last four and a half years.

He said that his government drew inspiration from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resolve of encouraging athletes and promoting sports in the country.

During the event held at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture and Technical, the Chief Minister said, “Despite making the state and the country proud at national and international competitions, none of the previous government’s earlier thought of honouring the specially-abled players. Each medallist and participant has made the country proud which is why we are felicitating players who belong to other states as well.”

Lauding the struggle and sustained efforts of the athletes who won medals in the Tokyo Paralympics, the CM hailed their spirit as an inspiration for all.

“Tokyo Paralympic athletes have proved that nothing can stop you if you are determined. Our Athletes never let their physical disabilities stop them, instead they made it their strength,” he said.

“This is our country’s best performance as a total of 19 medals came to India and it is all because of the support our athletes were provided under the leadership of PM Modi, ” said CM.

To boost the morale of players who brought honour to the country in the Tokyo Paralympics (August 24-September 5), for medal winners from Uttar Pradesh, the state government presented Rs 6 crore for gold, Rs 4 crore from silver and Rs 2 crore for bronze. Medallists from other states were given Rs 2 crore for gold, Rs 1.5 crore for silver and Rs 1 crore for bronze.

Two UP players, Suhas LY (para-badminton) and Pravin Kumar (para-jumping), had bagged silver in Paralympics and were given Rs 4 crore each.

Remaining six participants from Uttar Pradesh – Varun Singh Bhati of Gautam Budh Nagar (para-athletics), Ajit Singh of Etawah (para-athletics), Deepender Singh of Sambhal (para-shooting), Akash of Baghpat (para-shooting), Vivek Chikara of Meerut (para-archery), and Jyoti of Muzaffarnagar (para-archery) – received Rs 25 lakh each. Total 17 medallists from across the country, including two from UP, received the total prize money of Rs 31 crore.

The Chief Minister further said that Meerut known for its best sports supplies and products will soon be recognised as the country’s ‘sports hub’.

“The revolutionary land of Meerut known for its best sports products will cater to every need of the athletes. The sports Univeristy in Meerut will be named after legendary Hockey player Major Dhyan Chand which will encourage the budding players,” he said.

He further informed that in the last four and a half years, steps were taken to develop facilities for the players within the state. Resultantly the state now has 71 stadiums, 2 mini stadiums, 38 swimming pools, one international (all-weather) Swimming Pool, an International Cricket Stadium, 11 Synthetic Hockey Stadiums, Running Tracks, Shooting Range, Synthetic Tennis Courts, Basketball Court, Wrestling Halls and 11 Weightlifting Halls.

Praising the efforts of Adityanath in establishing a strict law and order system across the state and transforming the state into a ‘safer place’, the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Singh Thakur said, “Under the able leadership of CM Yogi, an atmosphere of ‘fear and corruption’ which used to prevail before 2017 has ended. No place can develop without its citizens feeling safe and now every person in the state has the freedom to follow their dreams freely.”

Highlighting the efficient Covid-19 management in Uttar Pradesh, Anurag Thakur further said, “No other person could have managed the pandemic in a better manner than what CM Adityanath did. The work of implementing micro-containment zones across the state, controlled the spread of the virus in the most populous state.

The Minister for Sports further expressed gratitude to the Chief Minister for not only felicitating players from Uttar Pradesh but also from other states. “The Uttar Pradesh government has contributed majorly towards promotion of sports. The Sports University coming up in Meerut will not only foster sports culture in Uttar Pradesh but will also prove to be a boon for the athletes and sportspersons all around the country,” he said adding, “I am sure that in future UP will give more players to the country.”

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