Modi enlists top sportspersons in COVID-19 fight

Seeking to enlist prominent civil society members who can boost morale and sensitize people in the fight against COVID-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with the top 40 sportspersons in the country through a video-link and invited them to contribute to the efforts in checking the spread of the virus.

Those who attended the meeting included Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Mary Kom, PT Usha, Pullela Gopichand, Vishwanathan Anand, Hima Das, Bajrang Punia, PV Sindhu, Rohit Sharma, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, and Cheteshwar Pujara. PM Modi praised the sportspersons for bringing glory to the nation through their “stellar performances on the field,” and told them that they now they have an important role to play in boosting the morale of the nation as well as spreading the message of social distancing along with asking people to continuously follow advisories given during the lockdown.

Just as sports require self-discipline, tenacity, teamwork and a fighting spirit, these qualities are also required to defeat coronavirus, Modi tweeted. “From sharing videos that reaffirm the importance of fitness, helping the poor and needy, emphasizing on social distancing as well as contributing to efforts such as PM-CARES, our sportspersons are doing excellent towards making India free from COVID-19,” he said.

The prime minister also asked them to include the following five points in their message to people: “Sankalp” to fight the pandemic, “sanyam” to follow social distancing, “sakaratmakta” to maintain positivity, “samman” to respect the frontline soldiers in this battle including the medical fraternity, the police personnel, etc. and “sahyog” at personal level as well as at national level through contribution to PM-CARES fund.

He also asked them to highlight the importance of both physical and mental fitness and also popularize guidelines released by AYUSH Ministry. The sportspersons praised PM Modi’s leadership in this challenging time, according to a Press Information Bureau release.

They also thanked him for ensuring that the frontline healthcare workers and police personnel involved in this battle get the respect they truly deserve for their selfless service. They also discussed the importance of discipline, mental strength, following a fitness regimen and taking steps to boost immunity. Earlier in the day, Modi urged people to put off the lights in their homes for nine minutes on April 5 at 9 pm to show they were together in the fight against coronavirus.

“On this Sunday, April 5, we will challenge the darkness of coronavirus threat together. On April 5, at 9 pm, I need your 9 minutes. At 9 pm, turn off all the lights in your houses and light a Diya, candle, torch or flashlight for 9 minutes at your doors, or balcony,” Modi said.

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