As the best of the world’s athletes gather in Tokyo for the Olympics, Jamaican sprinter and Olympian Yohan Blake visited the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir located in Chino Hills, California. Mr. Blake was joined by Rasheed Dwyer, Jevaughn Minzie, Ronda Whyte, Anastasia Le-roy and other Jamaican Olympic Track team members. Their last stop before their flight to Tokyo, Yohan and members of the delegation visited the Mandir to receive blessings, meditate and recharge before their events at the Olympics.
The athletes were traditionally greeted with tying of a nadachadi around their wrist. Then, they offered their respects, admired the art and architecture and viewed the mandir exhibition. Their visit included special blessings, meditation, a mandir and facility tour, a special abhishek puja to the murti of Shri Neelkanth Varni and an inspirational roundtable discussion with youth from BAPS.
During the roundtable, runners Yohan Blake and Ronda Whyte spoke to 75 youths. The audience asked questions about what inspires them as runners and what kind of mindset allows them to achieve their goals. When asked about his mindset, Mr. Blake said, “never settle, be a go-getter” and inspired the group to “believe in your talent [because] that will be your greatest strength.” Ms. Whyte encouraged the audience to “be hungry for success” and that to achieve anything, tell yourself that “I can, I must, and I will!” After a motivational discussion, Mr. Blake, Ms. Whyte and the rest of the team were presented with two cards signed by the children and youth of BAPS wishing them luck at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Before departing, Mr. Blake shared some words describing his experience at the mandir, “To come here and spend time with the kids and see the mandir and all its pieces touches me a lot. The mandir is mind-blowing. When I walked into the temple for the first time, seeing everyone praying and the amount of faith everyone had left me speechless. Many people probably think I came here to pray for a gold medal, but rather I prayed for the betterment of my country and for the youth that are the next generation in Jamaica. Thank you for hosting me at this beautiful place.”
The visit concluded with a light, and sound show that left the team awe-inspired and ready to compete in Tokyo. The BAPS volunteers were honored to host Yohan and the delegation members and wish them the best of luck in Tokyo.