Mexico, July 22 (IANS) Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto met with the country’s athletes competing at the 2016 Olympic Games as part of the delegation’s official send-off.

Pena Nieto on Thursday thanked the 126 Olympic and 66 Paralympic athletes for their dedication and hard work, reports Xinhua

At the event, which was preponed due to Pena Nieto’s trip to the United States, the president handed the national flag to the selected flag bearer, and called on the athletes to do their best.

“You will be going to compete, to make Mexico proud, to show capability and send a message of peace, harmony, and solidarity with all of the countries that will be represented at Rio,” Pena Nieto said.

The head of Mexico’s National Commission for Physical Culture and Sport (Conade), Alfredo Castillo, said this year’s 126-member Olympic delegation was the largest in 40 years.

Castillo said the field of sports in Mexico was undergoing renovation spurred by a recent push to combat corruption among the different federations that received government funding, but had little to show for it.

In an apparent response to critics who said Mexico had historically underperformed at the Olympics, Castillo called for patience, and pointed to China as a country that gradually grew into an Olympic powerhouse.

“China got five gold medals in 1988. At the 2008 Beijing Games, 20 years later, China got 51 gold medals. That entails a process of five Olympic Games, where doing things in a professional manner got results,” said Castillo.

“An athlete is not built in a day, it takes many years of effort and sacrifice,” added Castillo.

Taekwondo athlete Maria del Rosario Espinoza stressed the importance of having the public’s support to motivate the competitors.

“We want to feel supported, to feel the support of 100 million Mexicans,” said Espinoza, adding “we are all going after the goal, which is the Olympic glory.”

According to the Mexican Olympic Committee (COM), Mexico’s delegation is comprised of 81 men and 45 women who will take part in a total of 76 different competitive events.

The Rio Olympic Games open on August 5.

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

    Related Posts

    Mohammad Hafeez Reported For Suspect Bowling Action Again

    Pakistan allrounder Mohammad Hafeez has been reported for a suspect bowling action once again. The off-spinner was reported for a suspect action by match officials...

    Here’s The Daily Sports Round Up From Around The Globe On 19th October, 2017

    Here is Sportzwiki’s daily news round-up, featuring top sports news from around the world, on 19th October 2017. Here’s all the news from sporting...

    David Warner Reveals Why He Asked Rohit Sharma To Talk English

    Three years after being involved in a heated exchange with Rohit Sharma, Australia's star David Warner has revealed why he told the India opener to...

    SA vs BAN 2nd ODI: Every Team Lacks An AB de Villiers: Mashrafe Mortaza

    If Bangladesh were hoping for a respite in the third One-Day International against South Africa on Wednesday (October 18) after being thoroughly outplayed in the...

    South Africa Vs Bangladesh 2017: AB De Villiers Is A Destroyer – Mashrafe Mortaza

    Doubting champions is never the sensible thing to do especially in a sport like cricket, which thrives on the brilliance of champions. One such...