Bellary (Karnataka) [India], September 12 (ANI): JSW Group organised a felicitation ceremony at the Inspire Institute of Sport in Bellary that had Neeraj Chopra, Bajrang Punia, Ravi Dahiya and PR Sreejesh in attendance to recognise and reward India's best-ever performance at an Olympic Games.
The Saturday afternoon began with the felicitation of the eight athletes, who trained at the Inspire Institute of Sport (IIS) for the Tokyo Games.
The Olympians included Sreeshankar Murali (Long jumper), Sushila Devi (Judoka), Vikas Krishan Yadav (Boxer), Satish Kumar (Boxer), Ashish Kumar (Boxer), Annu Rani (Javelin thrower), Avinash Sable (3000m steeplechase) and Seema Bisla (wrestler).
The Olympic Medallists, who were felicitated at the event included Neeraj Chopra (Gold, Javelin Throw), Bajrang Punia (Bronze, Wrestling), the men's hockey team represented by PR Sreejesh (Bronze) and Ravi Dahiya (Silver, Wrestling). Mirabai Chanu (Silver, Weightlifting), Lovlina Borgohain (Bronze, Boxing) and PV Sindhu (Bronze, Badminton) couldn't make the event, but had their awards announced.
Neeraj Chopra said his gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics is just the start of the global success that athletes will achieve in the future.
"I am always very happy to be here at IIS because, for me, this feels like home. This is where I have spent time recovering from my injury not long ago and worked hard to reach the level that was needed for me to bring home the Olympic gold," said Neeraj in a statement.
"The facilities here are fantastic and the care you get is second to none. You also get motivated by watching others train alongside you, and I am sure my Gold medal is just the start of global success that athletes from here are bound to achieve," he added.
JSW Group presented awards to the athletes amounting to more than Rs 25 million. The JSW Sports management also felicitated Neeraj Chopra and Bajrang Punia's coaches at the Inspire Institute of Sport, who had a tremendous impact on both the athletes' performances at the Tokyo Games.
Sajjan Jindal, Chairman and Managing Founder and Director of JSW Group and Parth Jindal, Founder and Director of the IIS led the felicitations where efforts of all medal winners, athletes from the IIS who had made the Tokyo cut, and coaching and non-coaching staff were recognised.
"We have won seven medals at the Olympics and 19 at the Paralympics, and that's the clearest indication that India is moving to greater heights on the world stage. When we decided to build the Inspire Institute of Sport, the idea was to build a world-class facility that would be one of the best," said Sajjan Jindal, chairman and MD JSW Group"We always wondered how our Indian athletes will compete on the global stage, can we go toe to toe with the best in the world? The likes of Neeraj (Chopra), Ravi (Kumar Dahiya) and everyone else have shown that we can be right at the top.
"Apart from IIS in Bellary, we have also created a similar setup in Hisar (Haryana) for Wrestling and Boxing, we are planning a similar centre in the North-East part of the country, and a high-altitude training facility in Himachal Pradesh," he further said.
"India is a developed country whose corporate sector is very strong, and the IIS is a testimony of the private-public partnership, and if we go further down the same road into schools and colleges across the country, I am sure India has the potential to win many more medals at the Olympics," Jindal added.
Speaking during a panel discussion, Founder and Director- Inspire Institute of Sport Parth Jindal said, "We wanted to build a High Performance Centre that will inspire many other corporates to also step in and raise the standard in the country. As an institute, we always work towards ensuring that the athletes peak at the Olympics - you have to do your personal best at the Olympics Games - and that's the vision for all of us who are in the business of sport.""As long as you give your best it doesn't matter if you come back with a medal or not. We are so proud to host and felicitate all the medal winners today, and we wish them the best for Paris 2024 and beyond. The doors of the IIS will always be open to every athlete representing India, at no cost," Parth Jindal added. (ANI)