Both the veteran Indian hockey stars hung up their boots on September 30 after a successful campaign at the Tokyo Summer Games.
Rupinder and Birendra expressed their gratitude to PM Narendra Modi for acknowledging their contribution towards the blue jersey.
"Overwhelmed to receive this letter from our Hon'ble PM Narendra Modi ji. His constant support to athletes has motivated us to do our best at Tokyo2020. Sir, I am inspired by your passion for sport and pledge to continue my contribution to Indian sports," wrote Rupinder on Twitter.
"We athletes contribute our life to sport and when it is acknowledged by PM of the country, it feels like we have really done our bit for nation building," said Birendra Lakra.
PM Modi's letter to Rupinder Pal and Birendra Lakra
PM Modi termed Rupinder's contribution towards Indian hockey "an integral one." The PM further went on to say that Rupinder's performance was crucial to the team's historic win in Tokyo.
"I read your post in which you announced your retirement from the Indian Hockey Team," wrote PM Modi in his letter to Rupinder Pal Singh. "I would like to personally thank you for all that you have done for Indian hockey. I want to say that the people of India will have great memories of your own magic on the field.
"You have been a source of strength for the Indian hockey team and have been integral to every major tournament India has won since 2010 be it the Asian Men's Hockey Championships, Men's Hockey Asia Cup, Commonwealth Games, Hockey World League Finals and more," he added. "In the Tokyo Olympics, your performance was crucial to the team's historic success.
"A hockey medal in the Olympics has not only evoked sentiments in the minds of 130 crore Indians, it is a watershed moment in Indian Hockey," he continued. "This medal will contribute to the rebirth of Indian Hockey."
PM Modi expressed his gratitude for Birendra Lakra's contribution to Indian hockey and commended his spirit of resilience.
"I write this letter to express my gratitude to you for your indelible contributions to Indian hockey," wrote PM Modi to Lakra. "You have been a key part of a vital decade for Indian hockey. You also continued the glorious tradition of Odisha of producing outstanding hockey players, particularly defenders."
Barring all the monumental achievements, the letter had a very special mention of 'Amrit Mahotsav'. This is to spread awareness to curb malnutrition and encourage sports in the nation.
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