Prime Minister Modi interacted with fitness experts and influencers from across the country to mark the one-year anniversary of the ‘Fit India Movement.’ The session was attended by sports persons such as Paralympic javelin gold medallist Devendra Jhajharia, Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli and woman footballer from Jammu and Kashmir Afshan Ashiq. Also present were actor, model and runner Milind Soman and nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar.
Modi interacted with Afshan, who hit the headlines in 2017 as a stone pelter in Srinagar. The 25-year-old played as goalkeeper in J&K women’s football team and later played in the Indian Women’s League in 2019 for FC Kolhapur City. She also trains youngsters in Srinagar. To encourage her Modi said, “You have done very well in football. Mostly, football fans say ‘Bend it like Beckham’, but now they will say ‘Ace it like Afshan’.
Afshan said she gets inspiration from former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, eulogised as ‘captain cool’. “I do meditation at 5:30 every morning to keep my mind cool. I have learnt a lot from M S Dhoni, he is always calm. I like getting that calmness in my life, it helps to do all work calmly. It helps in balancing mental stress.”
Kohli said better fitness has helped the players, especially fast bowlers, to perform during crucial moments. “In Test cricket, sometimes we get tired. Our fast bowlers are best in the world currently and if they have to put that effort on the fourth and fifth day on the field, they can do it now,” he said. “We always had the skills but when in the crucial moment when the body gets tired and the team needs you, our performance used to dip and our opponents used to win, now because of our fitness, we have been able to capitalise and perform on those crucial moments,” he added.
Kohli said he didn’t follow the right diet early in his career and stressed on the need to bring an overall change in lifestyle. “When I started playing, I started having lot of things which were not good from health point of view. So physical fitness and diet had to change. Now life is very hectic, so if we don’t keep fitness in sync with our times, we will keep falling behind. If we wouldn’t have focussed on our fitness then we would have fallen behind in our sports as well. We can’t only depend on our skills as mental strength depends on how fit is the body and mind.”
Modi said he was glad that healthy eating is becoming a part of people’s way of living. “Becoming fit is not as difficult as most think. It just requires a little discipline. ‘Fitness ki dose, aadha ghanta roz’. Every Indian should play some game or do some fitness activity, be it tennis, badminton, kabaddi. It has to be for at least half an hour,” the PM said.