Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday underlined the need for arranging more competitions and trainings to gain success in the international sports platforms, urging the players to play with the attitude of victory.
"We have to arrange more competitions alongside proper trainings to achieve success in the international sports stages. The more sports competitions will be arranged, the more our players will attain excellence," she said.
The premier was addressing a programme at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) here to accord reception and distribute monetary reward to Bangladesh National Women Football Team for clinching maiden SAFF Women Championship-22 title defeating Nepal by 3-1 goals.
Twenty three players of the Bangladesh National Women Football Team have received cheque of Tk five lakh each and 11 trainers and officers got cheque of Tk two lakh each.
The players later handed over the trophy to the prime minister.
Sheikh Hasina also talked to the players and inquired about them.
The premier asked the parents to give their children time for playing outside to ensure their sound mental and physical health.
She also asked all particularly the youths to engage themselves in sports, culture and literary works in helping them be worthy citizens of the country.
The prime minister unveiled a book on slain Awami League leader Ahsanullah Master titled "Ahsanullah Master Jibonalkhyo" on his birthday today as well. The book was dedicated to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
State Minister for Youth and Sports Md Zahid Ahsan Russel and President of Bangladesh Football Federation Kazi Md. Salahuddin spoke at the function.
Secretary of Youth and Sports Ministry Md Mesbah Uddin gave the address of welcome while Bangladesh National Women Football Team skipper Sabina Khatun expressed her feelings.
A video-documentary on SAFF Women Championship-2022 was screened at the function.
Sheikh Hasina said self-confidence and training would help acquire excellence and success in sports.
The prime minister reminded the players that the Bangalees are a victorious nation.
She added: "We are a victorious nation. We had achieved our independence through the Liberation War. You all have to play with attitude of winning in sports also. Then the success will come."
Describing briefly about the measures taken by her government for sports, Sheikh Hasina said the success of Bangladesh in sports have increased day by day.
"Bangladesh has achieved 485 golds, 499 silvers and 595 bronzes and become champion for 144 times, runner-up for 26 times and secured third place for 22 times by participating in various sports in international and regional competitions," she said.
The premier said her government is working to develop the sports from the grassroots level, for which, they are establishing Sheikh Russel Mini Stadium at every upazila across the country.
"We have already built Sheikh Russel Mini Stadium in 125 upazila while construction work is going on in 186 upazila and initiatives have taken to build 173 more stadiums in upazila level," she said.
These mini stadiums have been made open for all sorts of sports, even any school can use those for holding their annual sports competition, she said.
The prime minister said her government would establish BKSP at every divisions and indoor stadium in every district to flourish sports at the grassroots level.
She said her government is pursuing the policy of "Sports for All" for which they have provided all the facilities to involve the differently able people in sports.
She said the specially abled children have so far won 216 golds, 109 silvers and 84 bronzes while they clinched all the eight titles after participating cricket tournaments.
The premier said they have attached topmost priority on giving training to the players at home and abroad to make them efficient enough to compete in global level.
She said they have even sent women footballers to Brazil, Spain and Portugal for training.
The premier said her government is working to inspire people to play country games through Country Games Association.
She asked the authorities concerned to arrange inter-college and inter-university competitions to help come out talented players of the grassroots.
The prime minister called upon the affluent people to join hand for the development of the sports.
"You (rich people) can appoint players to your organisations so that they could get rid of the tension to earn livelihood," she said.
The premier said her government has formed Bangabandhu Krirasebi (Sports) Welfare Foundation with giving Tk 40 crore as seed money, adding that more TK 20 crore will be provided to the foundation to help insolvent sportsmen.
She said that the foundation has already given Tk 15.16 crore to insolvent sportsmen and their families.
The premier praised the initiatives of introducing Bangabandhu Sports Education Scholarship which will help flourish talents.
Calling Awami League government as sports loving, Sheikh Hasina stressed necessary steps for the sports development, referring to establishment of Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) in 1972 and achieving FIFA's recognition in 1974 by the Father of the Nation.
She described herself as a member of a sports-loving family as her grandfather Sheikh Lutfur Rahman, father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and two brothers - Sheikh Jamal and Sheikh Kamal - were sportsmen.