New Delhi: A 54-member Indian contingent for the Tokyo Paralympic Games was given a virtual send-off late on Thursday evening by Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur.
The athletes were addressed and sent best wishes by Thakur via a video message.
"India is sending its largest-ever contingent to the Paralympic Games in Tokyo -- 54 para-sportspersons across nine sports disciplines. The passion of our Para-Athletes shows their phenomenal human spirit. Remember that when you play for India you will have a 130 crore Indians cheering for you!
"I am extremely confident that our para-athletes will give their optimum best! Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met our Rio 2016 Paralympic Games athletes and has always had a keen interest for the welfare of our athletes and focused the government's approach on nurturing talent along with development of sports Infrastructure across the country. Here's wishing them the very best," said Thakur.
Minister of Tourism, GK Reddy said, "Blessings of the whole nation are with the athletes and national flag should fly high again in Tokyo. It is dream of every player to do good at international level and make the country proud and we firmly believes that Paralympic athletes will fulfil this dream."
The Union Minister also added that the government has always supported sportspersons and said that the vision of the Prime Minister needed to be lauded in conceiving the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) in 2014.
Deepa Malik, president of Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) said, "Everyone has worked very hard and we are looking at very amazing competition at Tokyo 2020 and are very confident that we are going to bring lot of joy, lot of glory to the tricolour."
A total of 54 athletes in nine disciplines including archery, athletics, badminton, swimming and weightlifting, among others will compete in Tokyo.