‘Looking forward to giving our best in Tokyo’

BY SANIA MIRZA

I am very excited to be at my fourth Olympic Games. The preparations for the Olympic Games have really been very good. As good as it can get in the middle of a pandemic. It was good to get a bunch of matches in the past few weeks. Ankita (Raina) could also get some practice for a few days.
Despite the immense challenges posed by the pandemic, the Olympic Games are being held and all precautions and COVID protocols have been taken to ensure the well-being of athletes.
The vaccination drive by the Government and the bio-bubbles for sportspersons training for the Olympic Games have been important parts of the process creating seamless participation of Indian athletes at Tokyo2020. The creation of the minimum risk environment by the Government had been exemplary.
We are all excited to be participating and looking forward to giving our best.
The charter plane to Tokyo is readily a good example of the way the Government is trying to ease things for the athletes.
There are lots of restrictions involved in international travel and it is not an easy situation. The Government has provided the best possible infrastructure and support for us to perform at our best in Tokyo.
Personally, I had the opportunity to experience our government’s role in supporting individual athletes to ease their travel issues.
I was facing issues in securing a visa before going to Wimbledon, but the Government stepped in at the right time to facilitate my journey.
If you are an athlete and a mother, it becomes more challenging, but it was ensured by the combined efforts of the Sports Ministry and the Ministry of External Affairs that my two-year-old son secured his visa to travel with me through the Europe tour, ensuring that I could play and perform with a better peace of mind.
Now that we are in Tokyo, we are going to stay strong at the Olympics. As a team we are a great bunch and we are aware that we have the support of our 1.3 billion Indian fans, which gives us the strength to put up our best performance.
I am particularly happy to be back on the courts of the world’s highest sporting event. It has been a long journey and I am looking to give my best.
(Six-time Grand Slam tennis doubles title winner Sania Mirza played the Olympic Games mixed-doubles semi-finals in 2016).

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