Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first Khelo India School Games (KISG) at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here on Wednesday.
The glittering opening ceremony also witness the presence of Union Sports Minister Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Indian Olympic Association chief Narinder Batra and Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal beside several legendary sports personalities like Sardar Singh, Pullela Gopichand, PV Sindhu, Baichung Bhutia, Ajay Thakur, Rani Rampal, Deepa Karmakar and others.
Addressing the gathering, the PM said,”Sports should occupy a central place in the lives of our youth. Sports is an important means of personality development.”
“In your busy schedules, devote time to games…give priority to playing. Today we have in our midst eminent sports persons. I am sure they would have faced many obstacles but they did not give up and went on to distinguish themselves,” Modi said further.
Praising the youth of the nation, the PM said,”When we say India has to grow on the world stage, it does not only mean having a strong army & powerful economy. It includes people of India distinguishing themselves as scientists, artists, sportspersons. And, I am confident India will scale these heights. I trust our youth.”
“India does not lack sporting talent. We are a youthful nation and we can do even better in sports,” added the PM.
Outlining the importance of the nine-day long games, Modi said, “Khelo India is not only about winning medals. It is an effort to give strength to a mass movement for playing more. We want to focus on every aspect that would make sports more popular across the nation.”
Modi also said that when an Indian sportsperson wins and when he holds the Tricolour, it is an extremely special feeling as it energises the entire nation.
The Khelo India programme has been introduced to revive the sports culture in India at the grass-root level by building a strong framework for all sports played in the country and establishing India as a great sporting nation.
In keeping with the Prime Minister’s vision, Khelo India is expected to help scout young talent from the schools in various disciplines and groom them as future sports champions.
As many as 199 gold medals, 199 silver medals and 275 bronze medals are at stake in the Games where the country’s brightest talent in the under-17 age group will compete.
The games will be conducted in the Under-17 category which will witness the participation of 5000 athletes and 1200 officials.
The games will be held at multiple venues across Delhi including, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex, Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, Karni Singh Shooting Range and Dr SPM Swimming Complex.
The school games encompass 16 sports disciplines such as Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Football, Gymnastics, Hockey, Judo, Kabaddi, Kho-Kho, Shooting, Swimming, Volleyball, Weightlifting and Wrestling.