Sachin lauds Rio winners, hopes journey doesn't stop here

Sachin lauds Rio winners, hopes journey doesn't stop here
Lauding PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik for winning medals at the Rio Olympic Games, cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar today said it is the beginning of a wonderful journey for the duo. "This is a wonderful moment for Indian sport. Journey begins here, I am sure this doesn't stop here, we all will be joining that journey and are there to support you. You will keep us giving number of occasions to celebrate," he said.

"The entire nation is happy at this moment and jumping with joy, there are greater things to come," he further said. He was speaking at a function here where Rio Olympics silver medallist, shuttler PV Sindhu and bronze winner grappler Sakshi Malik along with gymnast Dipa Karmakar and badminton coach Pullela Gopichand were presented BMW cars.

Tendulkar, who was the Goodwill Ambassador of the Indian team at the Rio Olympics, handed over the keys at a function at the Gopichand Badminton Academy. "Gopichand you have been a wonderful role model, you have gone a notch higher. We all admire you. You are a real hero. We need your guidance in getting more medals. I thank various other coaches also," the batting maestro said.

"On behalf of the entire nation, I can say that all these sportspersons standing beside me have brought laurels to our nation. I thank everyone for supporting and praying (for sportspersons) that is what an athlete looks out for," he said.

"Your preparation...sacrificed so many things...you are not allowed to eat certain things and phones were kept aside, to enable you to focus. I knew, during Rio I saw such was the focus," Tendulkar said.

"We are extremely proud of you, we all are praying for you, we all support you now that you have said you want to convert bronze into gold and silver into gold (in the next Tokyo Olympic games)," he said referring to the medals won by Sakshi and Sindhu.

On the occasion, Gopichand said, "The three ladies have made fantastic efforts. India said other day, 'Save the Girl Child' was the norm, but now it is 'saved by the girl' (post results in Rio Olympics). Thank you very much for keeping our honour and pride."

Applauding the girls, he said, "Congratulations to all three of you. Your effort is nothing less than the gold. Over the years, last time (during last Olympics) we had a bronze (Saina Nehwal). Today, thanks to Sindhu's effort we are here with a silver." He also praised Tendulkar saying he is a great ambassador for sports. "Your support is greatly appreciated."

Hyderabad District Badminton Association president Chamundeshwarnath has gifted the luxury cars to the four sportspersons for their outstanding achievement. Thanking everyone for the support and also Chamundi for gifting the cars, Gopichand said, "Hopefully this will drive us to perform better in the future."

Shuttler P V Sindhu recalled, "When I was gifted a Swift Dzire earlier, Sachin sir told me that if I would win an Olympic medal he would definitely gift me another car. That happened today. I thank Sachin sir and Chamundi sir for gifting me a car." Sindhu said she is thankful to everyone and added "because of your blessings I am here."

"Overall it is my dream and it has come true that I had to get an Olympic medal. I am thankful to my coach because the whole journey till now I am with him. In the upcoming tournaments, definitely I will get laurels for the country," she said. Responding to the felicitations, Sakshi said, "I went alone (to Rio) and now entire India is with me. Continue with your love so that I can convert my bronze into gold at Tokyo Olympics. Thanks for honouring me."

She also said her brother is a big fan of the batting legend and requested Sachin for a family picture with him. On her part, Dipa thanked everyone saying "bina medal key bhi itna mujhe support mil raha hain (I am getting so much support without even winning a medal). Thank you Sachin sir."
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