Monday, December 11, 2023

Sports Minister Anurag Thakur felicitates GM Praggnanandhaa, chess ace confident of winning Asiad gold


New Delhi: Buoyed by his World Cup silver medal, GM R Praggnanandhaa is confident of Indian team’s chances of winning gold at the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou.

India’s new chess sensation was felicitated by Sports Minister Anurag Thakur at his residence on Friday. Praggnanandhaa feels India has a “good chance” of winning gold at the Asian Games.

Praggnanandhaa, who has been enjoying a stellar run in tournaments recently, is part of 10-member Indian team that will compete at the continental event.

Apart from Praggnanandhaa other Indian chess players have also made rapid progress in the international arena.

“The last few months I have been doing really well. It gives me a lot of confidence. I think we (India) have very good chances of winning gold,” Praggnanandhaa told PTI.

The 18-year-old, who became the youngest silver medallist at the FIDE World Cup last week, was felicitated Thakur, a day after the GM met Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Praggnanandhaa became very mature at a young age, he is mentally tough, his moves are so speedy and the way he has prepared mentally, physically as well as on the chess board is indeed praiseworthy,” Thakur said.

“I want to congratulate him. To become and International Master at 10 and beat (Magnus) Carlsen at 16 is a huge achievement. He has worked hard to achieve a lot of things in the past few years. His parents also have had a huge role to play,” he added.

Praggnanandhaa, who received a grand welcome in Chennai on Wednesday, said he is delighted that the sport of chess is getting so much attention in the country.

“Very happy that we are getting this support (from the government). In many other countries, players don’t get the support. It (support) is very essential. I’m very happy that chess is growing. As a fan of the sport, I’m happy to see that it’s getting more and more popular.”

His parents were also present and Praggnanandhaa highlighted how important the two have been in his journey.

“They are my main pillars of support, without them I don’t think me standing here would have been possible and I’m very happy that they are being recognised now because their efforts much bigger,” he added.



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