Address by Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Honourable Vice President at a virtual event to felicitate the Panjab University for winning the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy for the year 2020, from New Delhi on 11 September 2020.

New Delhi | September 11, 2020

I am delighted to know that the Panjab University has won the coveted Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) trophy for the top performing University in sports for a second time in a row, for the year 2020.
At the outset, let me extend my heartiest congratulations to each and every student of the Panjab University,coaches, management, staff for achieving sporting excellence along with academic brilliance.
Excellence in sporting is not an easy thing to come by. It takes hours and hours of relentless hard work and precision planning coupled with sheer determination to overcome obstacles.
You not only need a strong body but also a strong mind and an iron-clad will power to become an exceptional sports person.
I am glad that the Panjab University has succeeded in moulding several exceptional talents in the field of sports.
My dear young students,
Sports and games form a crucial part of our lives. They improve our physical fitness, improve our cognitive abilities and in the case of team games, enhance our social skills.
Participating in games and various sports will improve the concentration levels of an individual, promote the concept of team work and help in developing an attitude of equanimity.
This balance is essential to accept failures and setbacks without any sense of bitterness, ill-will or grudge, a quality we call ‘sportsman spirit’. It improves the general quality of life..
I strongly believe that an exceptional sportsperson can become an excellent leader too as sports also inculcates leadership qualities. I am happy that Panjab University is thus also helping mould the leaders of the future.
My dear friends,
I have always stressed the need for schools and educational institutions to promote sports and games. Participating in sports will improve physical fitness, which is important to combat the rising incidence of lifestyle diseases in our country, especially among the youth.
Unhealthy lifestyle is leading to problems like obesity, diabetes and hypertension. About 65% of our population is under the age of 30 years and it is of paramount importance to make our youngsters aware of the dangers of unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle. We must encourage our youngsters to be physically active and sports and games can help stay fit and healthy.
Sporting culture needs to be revived and nurtured right from school age. Games and Sports or Yoga or any physical activity should become integral to people’s daily routine. It not only keeps one healthy but also helps keep the mind stress free and provides relaxation to the mind and body. Staying fit and staying healthy will have a bearing on the wellbeing of a person, family and the society at large.
I am happy that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s initiative “Fit India campaign” encourages people to stay fit and healthy.
My dear students,
India, in the last few years has made steady progress in the field of sports and showcased its prowess at many global platforms.
India has been home to sporting legends like Major Dhyan Chand, Milkha Singh, Sachin Tendulkar, PV Sindhu, Mary Kom, Pullela Gopichand, Sania Mirza and Hima Das. The stories of these outstanding sportspersons must inspire each and every one of you to reach for the stars.
It is crucial that we identify sporting talent from a young age from different parts of the country and encourage and support them by giving them top-notch infrastructure and training of the highest level.
For this, we must have effective and comprehensive talent monitoring and scouting systems in place so that the talents in children may be picked up and nurtured from a very young age.
There is also an imminent need to upgrade sporting infrastructure in the country, from sports hostels to stadia, especially in rural areas.
It is also necessary to build a large pool of home grown, highly skilled Indian coaches. More colleges and universities must offer degrees and diplomas in sports management so that we succeed in building a better professional framework for sports management in the nation.
We must strive to build a pool of highly skilled sports medicine experts and practitioners to improve the performance of our sportspersons in events.
We must also recognize areas of sporting in which we have competitive advantages and invest more resources in them.
I appreciate and compliment the government of India, for launching Khelo India campaign a few years back to improve sporting in India.
We must also always remember that our sportspersons are our national pride. It is therefore crucial to provide alternate, fulfilling career opportunities for them even after they retire from active sporting. This will help attract many more young people to sports and games.
I am confident that if we work diligently, India will go on to win many more accolades in international sporting events, from Commonwealth games to Olympics.
We have no dearth of talent in this country.  What we need is stronger support systems.
I am extremely confident that many of you listening to me today will one day become national and international champions and Olympians and make the nation proud.
Once again, let me congratulate each and every one of you on this tremendous accomplishment. May many more such awards and accolades reach you in the time to come!

Thank You!Jai Hind!