Nita Ambani, Chairperson of Reliance Foundation and owner of the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Mumbai Indians Tuesday said that women can perform exceptionally well not only in sports but also in promoting them at national and international levels. "My presence here is an honour for all woman of India and it is my mission to empower and enable every woman in India," she said while addressing the Sports Business Summit in London, which is a part of Leaders' Week London 2019 event.
"I believe that when women lean on women, incredible things happen," she added. Ambani was elected to the International Olympic Committee in 2016. She also received the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Award in 2017, and is the chairperson of Indian Super League (ISL), which is a franchise-based football tournament.
Ambani in her address titled 'Inspiring a billion dreams: the India opportunity' said, "I come from the land of Buddha, Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa. I represent the dreams, hope and aspirations of a billion Indian. India is home to one-sixth of humanity, it is the youngest country in the world, a resurgent nation of 1.3 billion people of which 600 million are under the age of 25."
She further said that India is touching new heights in all areas including sports, "If the youth of India were a country by themselves they would be the third-largest country in the world. India is truly at a point of inflection, a country whose time has come."
She also lauded the steps taken by the Narendra Modi-led NDA II government to make India a sporting nation. Ambani invoked Swami Vivekananda, saying the Indian philosopher had said playing football would bring one closer to God. "Swami Vivekananda said 'make your body strong, play games, play football. You will be nearer to God through football'," she enunciated.
Also Read: Building Strong Foundations: Nita Ambani
Ambani said that a firm government support is crucial for emerging sporting powers. "We are fortunate that our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a great vision to transforming India into a global sporting powerhouse. In addition to promoting Yoga globally, he has recently started two major initiatives to promote sport-The Khelo India programme and the ambitious Fit India movement," she said.
She also articulated that India was a land of opportunities and was fast emerging as the newest sporting power in the world.
"There has never been an environment more conducive, more encouraging and more enabling for sport than what we have today. What makes it more engaging and exciting is the strength of our numbers," Ambani highlighted.
She also made a pitch for more investments in India. "Right now is probably the most exciting time for sport in India, whether you are a coach, a player, an investor, an administrator or a fan," Ambani underscored.
"800 million Indians consumed sports on television alone in 2018," she said, adding that new India is a land of infinite opportunities and the scale and size of the viewership for cricket and other sports makes India truly a unique opportunity.