Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Tuesday said the countdown for 2020 Olympics has started for the Indian athletes after the country’s best-ever medal haul in the Asian Games.

A visibly delighted Rathore congratulated Indian medal winners of the just-concluded Asian Games but said their real journey has just begun.

“You made the entire country proud with your achievements. We salute the passion you have shown but this journey is not complete,” Rathore said during a function to felicitate the medal winners with cash awards here.

“The countdown now has started for the Olympics (2020 Tokyo). You can’t be satisfied with this. You should always think about what is the next,” the minister said in his address to the athletes.

The minister said the medal winners have now become ambassadors and their job is to pass across positive message to the society.

“You have now become ambassadors of your sport, ambassadors of your state and for youngsters of the country. So your message should always be positive,” Rathore said.

“Everyone has problems, everyone has challenges but the goal should be to never give up. Never say no, never feel defeated. That is what makes champions.”

He said an athlete should never shy away from obstacles.

“You did not reach here easily. You had to overcome many obstacles but because of these obstacles you are what you are today. Don’t think about obstacles, only think about your capabilities,” Rathore said.

The minister said the success at the Asian Games was a result of teamwork.

“The success is a result of teamwork of the government, IOA, federations, athletes and coaches. These medals belong to the whole country,” Rathore said.