Bhubaneswar, Feb 22 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday a history had been created with the inauguration of the first Khelo India University Games in Cuttack.
“Today, a new history has been created in Odisha. It’s not just remarkable for the history of Indian sports, but is a big step for the future of India’s sports,” said the Prime Minister.
Modi inaugurated the Games at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Cuttack through video link from Delhi.
Stating that the goal is to win more than 200 gold medals in the coming days, he said you would not only be competing with each other, but also with yourself. “It’s not just the beginning of a tournament, but the beginning of the next phase of sports movement in India,” he said.
The Khelo India campaign had played an important role in attracting youth towards sports and recognising young talents in every corner of the country. When it started in 2018, 3,500 players took part in it. But just in three years, the players’ number had crossed over 6,000, he said.
Stating that 80 records were broken during this year’s Khelo India Schools Games, he said 56 of the new records were made by girls. Players from poor families and small cities were doing well in these games, he said.
The players should focus on their performance as the country was doing the rest, said Modi.
The event was attended by several dignitaries and sportspersons, including Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
As many as 3,400 athletes from 159 universities will take part in 17 disciplines, including rugby that’s among the six team events. The disciplines include archery, athletics, boxing, fencing, judo, swimming, weightlifting, wrestling, badminton, basketball, football, hockey, table tennis, tennis, volleyball and kabaddi.