Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Photo Credit: File Image)
As the country fights the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday spoke to eminent sports personalities that included the likes of BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, badminton world champion P.V. Sindhu and chess legend Viswanathan Anand and sought their support to spread awareness.
Speaking to news agency IANS, sources in the know of developments said that the Prime Minister spoke to them about ways in which there can be more awareness creation and more efforts made to reach every citizen in the country so that the directives issued by the health department is followed by one and all.
"The Prime Minister had an interaction with not just cricketers, but also sports personalities from other fields. The basic idea was to ensure that they can then go ahead and pass on the message of staying safe and staying indoors to the masses. The PM acknowledged the contribution the sportspersons have made in spreading awareness and said that this is a battle that the country has to fight together and no better way than to get sports personalities to reach out to their fans and followers further," the source said to IANS.
Earlier, Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli came out with a video where he requested everyone to stay indoors and help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
"Hello, I am Virat Kohli. Today I am speaking to you not as an India player, but as a citizen of the country. What I have seen in the last few days people moving in groups, not abiding by curfew rules, not following lockdown guidelinesÃ¢â‚¬â€Âit shows that we are taking the fight very lightly. But this fight is not as easy as it looks or feels.
"I wish to request everyone to please maintain social distancing and follow it. Also we should follow the directives given by the government and just for once think how you would feel if due to your negligence someone in your family gets affected by the virus. Please follow the experts as they are working very hard. It will only be successful when we follow our duties rather than going out in groups and breaking rules. This for me is an act against the country's well-being. So now, I along with all of you wish to see things improve and please follow the directives of the government. Jai Hind!"
A list of 49 names from all prominent sports were compiled for the interaction with PM Modi. They are: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Cricket), Virat Kohli (Cricket), Rohit Sharma (Cricket), Mamatha Poojary (Kabaddi), Sourav Ganguly (Cricket), Sachin Tendulkar (Cricket), Virender Sehwag (Cricket), Mohd Shami (Cricket), KL Rahul (Cricket), Cheteshwar Pujara (Cricket), Yuvraj Singh (Cricket), Zaheer Khan (Cricket), PT Usha (Athletics), Yogeshwar Dutt (Wrestling), Bajrang Punia (Wrestling), Vinesh Phogat (Wrestling), PV Sindhu (Badminton), Mary Kom (Boxing), Hima Das (Athletics), Viswanathan Anand (Chess), Rani Rampal (Hockey), Deepika Kumari (Archery), Mirabai Chanu (Weightlifting), Neeraj Chopra (Athletics), Sharad Kumar (Para Athletics), Apurvi Chandela (Shooting), Manu Bhaker (Shooting), Tarundeep Rai (Archery), Bhaichung Bhutia (Football), Sardara Singh (Hockey)Achanta Sharath Kamal (Table Tennis), Amit Panghal (Boxing), Gagan Narang (Shooting), Anju Bobby George (Athletics), Rohan Bopanna (Tennis), Ankita Raina (Tennis), Sai Praneeth (Badminton), Srihari Natraj (Swimming), Harmeet Desai (Table Tennis), Abhishek Verma (Shooting), Avinash Sable (Athletics), KT Irfan (Athletics), Lovlina Boroghain (Boxing), Simranjeet Kaur (Boxing), Jeremy (Weightlifting), Bhavani Devi (Fencing), Pramod Bhagat (Para Badminton).