New Delhi: Indian athletes' poor performance so far at the ongoing Rio Olympics might have attracted criticism from some quarters but cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar says that they should be supported more when the chips are down.
Tendulkar, also a goodwill ambassador of the Indian contingent at the Rio Olympics, said that he was hopeful of the country's athletes doing better in the latter part of the Games.
"The first half has not gone according to our plan and expectations, but I am sure with our support things will change. I for sure will be with our athletes and back them especially when the chips are down," said Tendulkar at a promotional event here.
Tendulkar was asked about criticism from some quarters after the poor show of Indian athletes in the first three days at the Rio Olympics.
Tendulkar had met the Indian athletes at the Games Village to encourage them, watched some events, including the match of Indian women's doubles pair of Sania Mirza and Prarthana Thombare. He also spent some time with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach during a rugby sevens match.
Talking about his meeting with Indian athletes, he said, "I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the athletes and also went there to support them and watched various competitions. When you go there, you realise how hard they are competing, how hard they are pushing themselves.
"Olympics is the biggest sporting event and athletes prepare themselves for years and years. After all these preparations, you lose by a fraction. There are ups and downs. Being a sportsperson myself I understand how disappointing it is sometimes when things don't go according to your plan. You are not always able to execute your plans because of unexpected challenges," said Tendulkar.
He said what matters the most is the intent and the pride of representing the country.
"What matters truly to me is your intent, the way you go about, perform and represent your nation. When I spent time with the athletes I could feel their energy. It was an honour to be there among all these champions.
"Results sometimes go your way, sometimes go against you. I feel when results don't go their way that is the time I would like to support those athletes, be with them, behind them," he said.
Asked about his recent knee surgery, Tendulkar said, "I was asked by the doctor not to remove this for six weeks. It's not most convenient way to travel but I have to go by whatever the doctors say. Certain changes to your lifestyle are extremely important and fitness is the most important factor... Overall good fitness is going to produce good results on consistent basis.
"I would just say that take care of your health and be happy. When you are fit, you are always happy, somewhere there is interconnection. It also improves your state of mind and if you fit then you are more confident. So try to be more healthy."