CHENNAI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared open the FIDE 44th Chess Olympiad here on Thursday, and encouraging the players, said that in sports there are no losers but winners and future winners.
The Chess Olympiad is hosted by India at a special time in its history, which marks 75 years of freedom from colonial rule, he said.
In his address during the inaugural at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, Modi said it is an honour to have international chess players at a such a special time. "In sports there are no losers, there are winners and there are future winners," he said.
The Prime Minister, as in the events held in Tamil Nadu in the past began his speech by uttering the Tamil word for greetings, 'Vanakkam.' He said that in a short period of time, the organisers have made outstanding arrangements. The Tamil Nadu government along with the Centre's full support is hosting the event.
Assuring the best hospitality to players from far and wide, Modi quoted the 'Athithi Devo Bhava' slogan which means 'our guests are like God.' Also, the Prime Minister cited Tamil saint poet Tiruvalluvar's couplet on the significance of hospitality.
Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi, Chief Minister M K Stalin, Union Ministers Anurag Thakur and L Murugan among others were present during the glittering opening ceremony.
The sporting event will be held in the nearby Mamallapuram, about 50 km from here.
The Olympiad is being held in India for the first time ever, after being moved out of Russia following its invasion of Ukraine and has attracted a record number of entries in the Open (188) and women's (162) sections.