Sreeja Akula, who recently claimed the gold medal in the Mixed-Doubles Table Tennis event at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham, was felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence in New Delhi.
Speaking about the grand event in New Delhi, Sreeja described it as a moment she would never forget. “It was an honour for me to meet with Hon’ble PM Modi and to hear his inspiring words. Being felicitated by him is one moment I will cherish forever. I am grateful for such a warm welcome and it gives me the motivation to continue the hard work,” she said.
Sreeja was among the 31 athletes making their Commonwealth Games debut who went on to win a medal for India. Speaking at the felicitation ceremony, the Prime Minister cited how medal wins by the women athletes will inspire girls to pick up sports as a career option.
“The daughters of India, have made us proud! The medals won by all women athletes will inspire girls across India to join mainstream sports,” PM Modi said.
The 24-year-old Sreeja, who has been a part of Dream Sports Foundation’s (DSF) elite athlete development program, ‘One Dream, One Lakshya’, won the coveted gold medal along with her partner Sharath Kamal at the quadrennial event and they became the 1st Indian pair to win gold in the Mixed Doubles in Commonwealth Games history.
Congratulating Sreeja on her performance at the Games, Bhavit Sheth, COO & Co-Founder, Dream Sports, said, “We are delighted to see one of our own athletes bringing glory to the nation. Sreeja has always been a dedicated and determined individual and we recognised the immense potential she had when we first scouted her. Her career and achievement trajectory has been extremely encouraging. We congratulate her on being felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and we truly believe she deserves every bit of recognition. But this is just the start of her journey, and we are confident that Sreeja will continue to bring laurels to the nation. We will continue to provide her with every bit of support we can to help her in her sporting career.”
The rising star athlete, who hails from Telangana, received a grand welcome at the Hyderabad International Airport upon her return to India. Now, Sreeja wishes to continue to improve upon her game and work even harder to bring more laurels to the nation.
“I am thankful to DSF for all the support they gave me in my journey which allowed me to fulfill my dreams of winning medals for the country on such a big platform. With all the support and constant encouragement being provided to me by DSF and Lakshya, I feel blessed as I can just focus on my sport and my training without worrying about training equipment, medical facilities, and travel issues. I will return to training soon to prepare for the upcoming competitions, and I look forward to making the nation proud once again,” Sreeja signed off.