India's cricketing superstar and World T20 2007, World Cup 2011 winner Gautam Gambhir, Badminton sensation and BWF World Tour finals 2018 winner PV Sindhu and Commonwealth Games 2018 Gold winner Babita Phogat , on Day Two of the Republic Summit 2018, spoke in lengths about their achievements in their respective sports.
From the importance of sports in daily lives to the backing of parents in achieving their dreams, the three sportsperson gave their views and discussed about grit, guts and the global game.
PV Sindhu began the proceedings, opening up about her success at the BWF finals when asked if there was fear in her mind, having lost seven finals in a row prior to her recent victory. "I didn't feel any pressure and was an answer to everyone who said, Silver again?" she said.
Next up was Gautam Gambhir, who was questioned if he also felt any kind of pressure when playing in a final. He responded by saying, "I was one of the very fortunate to be part of the two World Cup wins. I was very fortunate to get the opportunity of doing something special for the country. I don't think about the occasion. You can't let it get better of you, be it the World Cup or any other game. The contest is not the WC final, it is between bowler and batsman. That is how I approached both the WC finals."
Following this conversation, all the three sportspersons were asked to give out their views about the support they received while pursuing their respective sports. Here's the summary of what they said:
Gambhir: I was eight when I joined the academy. My parents said that rather than utilising your energy sitting at home, go out and play cricket. My school helped me take up sport very seriously. I couldn't have achieved anything without my school's support.
Sindhu: When I wanted to play a sport, I started badminton for fun. People asked me why don't you pursue volleyball like your parents did. My parents supported me. They have done a lot of sacrifices for me. Ups and downs are always there, but they always taught me that this is just the start. That's how they encouraged me.
Phogat: We are six sisters, and all of us are international medalists. It is said that making one wrestler is like preparing one elephant. Our parents were with us all the time. My father started my wrestling when girls weren't allowed to go outside the house. People were saying girls have no career in wrestling, but my father was adamant of making me a wrestler. And because of him that I am successful. My parents showed us the way when we were young.
After this, the three of them gave on their views on the importance of sports in the life of a kid, and if they believe government has been supporting the sports persons.
Gambhir: 10-15 years ago, there was cricket and no other sport. But in the past 5-7 years, look at badminton, hockey and football. All sport persons deserve as much credit as cricketers. Government is doing all they can to promote sports. India is going to be a superpower in 2-3 years. One needs to realize how important sport is. One should know sports helps overall, helps a kid become competitive. Sports teaches you to be humble, competitive. It is a fabulous platform for a young kid. Sports is the only platform where there are no retakes.
Sindhu: In the schools, sports periods should be compulsory. Parents should encourage, and there should be marks in sports. There is so much in studies that people don't know if their kid wants to become a champion in sports. A lot of changes have happened. There will be sporting points when parents get encouraged and makes their kids play sports. It makes you strong too.
Phogat: Sports persons life is very different, it is the best. The kids energy will be used in positive. I would like to the thank Sports minister for his efforts for sports. There should be a policy on health of players. We should also make schemes for the ground level, on grassroots.
Finally, Gambhir, Sindhu and Babita were asked to express how they felt when the national anthem was played in front of them. This is what they had to say:
Gambhir: There's no better feeling that standing for your national anthem. You get the opportunity to do something special for your country. It's an absolute honor standing for the national anthem.
Sindhu: We don't have words, seeing your flag flying high. I had tears in my eyes when I saw it flying. It is definitely a special moment for us.
Phogat: That happiness you can feel, but can never speak about. It is the most memorable moment, and you forget every struggle.