Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 19
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched the inaugural torch relay of the 44th Chess Olympiad in New Delhi. FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovic handed over the torch to the PM, who then passed it on to Grand Master Viswanathan Anand.
The torch will travel to 75 cities in 40 days before reaching Mahabalipuram in Chennai, which is hosting the Chess Olympiad.
Addressing the gathering at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, the PM said that it is a proud moment for the country that the torch relay is being organized for the first time in India. “We are glad that the first torch relay will start from India. This is also the first time that India will host the Chess Olympiad. It is a proud moment that the sport which was born here and left its mark in the whole world is returning to India: PM Modi
“We are celebrating the 75th year of Indian Independence. This torch will be carried to 75 cities and I am honored and happy by FIDE’s decision to give me this opportunity. The important thing is that this torch relay will always start from India from now on. It is a great honor for our country and our history for which I thank FIDE and its members. To the players participating in the 44th Chess Olympiad, I want to say that play well and fair.
At the start of the programme, both PM Modi and FIDE President Dvorkovic were welcomed with a shawl and memento by All India Chess Federation (AICF) President Sanjay Kapur. The PM also made a formal move on the chessboard with GM Koneru Humpy.
Sports Minister Anurag Thakur and his deputy Nisith Pramanik besides several foreign dignitaries were present in the inaugural torch relay.
PM Modi further said that the game of chess has a deep meaning in everyday life.
“Friends, the game of chess teaches you to plan for the long term. One should not plan for short term success but plan long term and you can win big.
He also lauded the sports policy and said that the country is already seeing results in this regard. “We have a strong sports policy here and the TOPS and Khelo India programs are working on the same principle of long-term planning. We can already see the result. We won seven medals in the Tokyo Olympics. We won 19 medals in Paralympics. We did well in the Deaf Olympics as well. Recently we have won the Thomas Cup in Badminton. Three female boxers won medals at the World Championships. Neeraj Chopra won another medal and set another national record. We are already targeting the 2024 Paris Olympics and the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.”