'No Nation Can Emerge a Sporting Power Without Govt's Support': Nita Ambani Lauds PM's Initiatives


New Delhi: Reliance Foundation founder and chairperson Nita Ambani on Tuesday hailed the initiatives taken by the Narendra Modi government to make India a sporting nation while addressing the Sports Business Summit in London.

Invoking Indian philosopher Swami Vivekananda, Ambani said the great Indian thinker said playing football would bring one nearer to God. “Swami Vivekananda said 'make your body strong, play games, play football. You will be nearer to God through football',” Ambani, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said.

Lauding the government’s initiatives for the promotion of sports, Ambani said that a strong support from the government is very important for emerging sporting powers. “We are fortunate that our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a great vision to transforming India into a global sporting power house. In addition to promoting Yoga globally, he has recently started two major initiatives to promote sport-The Khelo India programme and the ambitious Fit India movement,” Ambani said.

She said the digital revolution in India, which has been furthered by Reliance's Jio network, is helping the success of these initiatives.

Ambani said the efforts put in by the government and the private sector in grassroots and youth development has started bearing fruit as the young Indian players have “taken the world by storm”. In the month of July alone, Indian athletes won over 200 medals and majority of these were won by women, she said, as she singled out Hima Das for praise.

The Reliance Foundation chairperson, who has worked hard to promote various sports in India, said one of the most heartwarming initiatives of her foundation and Mumbai Indians is the Education and Sports For All programme.

"It combines the power of pull of sports and education, especially for children who are underprivileged and differently-abled. Under the ESA initiative, every year we take 21,00 children to watch their favourite Mumbai Indians team play. For all of them, this is their first-ever visit to the stadium to watch a live match," she said.

"It is a day that gives them immense joy and hope. It is really gratifying to watch these children interact with their sporting heroes. Not only do these children go back home with stars in their eyes, but also with the belief that they too can dream and achieve," she added.

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