The unifying power of sport highlighted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

In emotional words, the Prime Minister welcomed members of the global sports community to India on behalf of the country's 1.4 billion people and stressed that organizing an IOC session 40 years after India was the last IOC host was a matter of great pride.

Sport and culture are an integral part of Indian society, he explained: “Sport is a very important part of our culture, our way of life.” It has always been an important part of our history. We Indians are not just sports lovers, we live our lives through sports.” Narendra Modi then spoke about India’s enthusiasm for sports and the country’s millennia-old sports tradition.

The Prime Minister said that India has a very rich heritage in the field of sports in every era of India's thousand-year history. Ancient writings document mastery of 64 disciplines, many of which are associated with sports, including horse riding, swimming, archery and wrestling. The focus has always been on acquiring sporting skills. Archaeological remains also testify to the history of the sport, particularly at one site where the remains of a 10,000-seat stadium were discovered. It is not just India's heritage but that of the entire world, the Prime Minister noted.

But sports in India, he stressed, is not just limited to athletic performance. He added: “In sport there are no losers, there are only winners and learners.” And he continues: “The language of sport is universal, the spirit of sport is universal.” Sport has no purpose other than to express itself ; Sport strengthens humanity and gives it the opportunity to develop. All over the world, every athlete can break records, but all of humanity rejoices. Sports is a family and a future.” Narendra Modi emphasized that the Indian government is committed to supporting sports at all levels.

This commitment to sport continues to this day. The Prime Minister said that the country needs inclusion and diversity to develop sports in India. Thanks to this strategy, Indian athletes are achieving good results at the global level. He noted the country's sporting achievements and noted the outstanding performances of Indian athletes in the recent Olympic Games. He also lauded the historic achievements of Indian athletes at the recent Asian Games, where the country's athletes performed better than ever before, while at the World University Games, young Indian athletes also set new records. These results, he added, are a testament to the rapidly changing sporting landscape in India.

Looking ahead, Narendra Modi explained India's ability to organize and host global sporting events. India recently organized the World Chess Olympiad in which 186 countries participated. The country has also hosted the Women's Under-17 Football World Cup, the Men's Ice Hockey World Cup, the Boxing Championships and the World Shooting Championships. Of course, India hosts one of the biggest elite cricket championships every year, including the sport's current World Cup. The Prime Minister expressed his country's delight that the IOC Executive Board had recommended to the meeting that cricket be included in the sports program of the LA28 Games.

He further stated that India plays host to countries from all over the world in organizing global events. To this end, he pointed out that thanks to the rapid development of the country and the development of its infrastructure, the country now has the capacity to organize such international events. This is what the world saw at the recent G20 meeting, where events took place in 60 cities. According to him, this proves India's organizational capability at all levels.

The Prime Minister then said that India would be happy to organize an edition of the Olympics in 2036. With this, Narendra Modi made it clear that he was not only expressing his dream, but also becoming an ambassador of the aspirations of 1.4 billion Indians. But before 2036, he said, India is ready to host an edition of the Youth Olympic Games.

The Prime Minister expressed confidence in the IOC's support, saying that “sports is not just a means to win medals but a means to win people's hearts.” Sport belongs to everyone. It is aimed at everyone. Sport doesn't just produce champions. It also promotes peace, progress and well-being.” And concluded by stating that “sport is a very strong and very powerful way to connect the world,” before ending his speech with the Olympic motto “Faster, higher, stronger – together “ ended and declared the 141 opene IOC meeting.