A gesture by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who told a heartbroken athlete, Pooja Gehlot, that her Commonwealth Games bronze medal called for a celebration and not an apology earned accolades on social media as users globally lavished praise at his inspiring leadership. People from countries like Pakistan lauded Modi's motivating gesture and questioned the apathy of their own rulers, who may not even be aware that athletes were winning medals.
In the semi-finals of the women's 50 kg freestyle wrestling at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Gehlot fought hard but could not win the bout. At a post-match press conference, she made no attempt to hide her disappointment. A teary-eyed Gehlot told reporters that she ardently wanted the national anthem to be played after her victory in the event but she could only secure a bronze. Noticing the athlete's disappointment from a video tweeted by an indian news agency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped in to console and encourage her.
" Pooja, your medal calls for celebrations, not an apology. Your life journey motivates us, your success gladdens us. You are destined for great things ahead...keep shining!" the prime minister said in a post.
The reply soon went viral as many others also posted encouraging words for the emotional athlete. Many more, however, praised Modi's supportive gesture. One of the first reactions came from Pakistani mediaperson Shiraz Hassan who compared Modi's style with the attitude of leaders from the neighbouring country.
"This is how India projects their athletes. Pooja Gehlot won bronze and expressed sorrow as she was unable to win the Gold medal, and PM Modi responded to her. Ever saw such message from Pakistan PM or President? Do they even know that Pakistani athletes are winning medals" Hassan tweeted?
Another netizen referred to the tweet and said that this was the precise reason "Modi is the best". "When the PM himself motivates and encourages you...Respect. We are proud of you Pooja Gehlot," said a Twitter user by the name Gautam Anand. Another user Tarangini Das said that gestures like these were what made Modi different from all other leaders. "This is what makes PM Modi different from all other PMs we have had. He stands with our sportsmen like no one ever did. We are proud of Pooja Gehlot. Even participating and training for such tough games is an achievement. You have won bronze. It's a huge success," the user said. Another netizen said that no matter what a person's political views, the gesture should be respected. "A person's political views might differ but this gesture deserves an appreciation," he posted.
Many of the users compared Modi's leadership style to that of the head of a family or father figure who takes care of every member. Prime Minister Modi has always taken a keen interest in India's sports persons, with many of whom he stays regularly in touch with. India's wrestling contingent ended their 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games campaign with all twelve wrestlers earning medals. It was one of the best performances ever by the grapplers at the games. Indian wrestler Pooja Gehlot won bronze in women's 50 kg at Commonwealth Games.
She defeated Christine Lemofack Letchidjio of Scotland at the Coventry Arena Wrestling Mat B on Saturday. Pooja Gehlot won the bronze medal match 12-2 and won on the basis of technical superiority. The match lasted three minutes and forty-nine seconds. The Indian grappler took a 10-2 lead in the first period and the pressure was on her opponent. Gehlot was in good form in the match. She managed to hold her own and she kept her opponent at bay to walk away with the bronze. (ANI)