Devote time to sports, urges PM ModiFebruary 1, 2018, Delhi
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared the inaugural edition of the Khelo India School Games (KISG) open at IGI stadium on Wednesday
Inaugurating Khelo India, Modi says the entire nation is energized when an Indian sportsperson wins and the Tricolour flies high
Urging the country’s youth to give sports a “central place” in their lives, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared the inaugural edition of the Khelo India School Games (KISG) open at the Indira Gandhi Indoor (IGI) stadium here on Wednesday.
Amidst thunderous applause from wellknown Indian sportspersons and the KISG participants, Modi said the Khelo India movement was not only about winning medals, but an effort to give strength to a mass movement for playing more.
“India does not lack sporting talent. We are a youthful nation and we can do even better in sports. In your busy schedules, devote time to games and give priority to playing. Sports is an important means of personality development. We want to focus on every aspect that would make sports more popular across the nation,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister told the gathering that if India wishes to grow on the world stage, sportspersons will also have an important role to play. “When we say India has to grow on the world stage, it does not only mean having a strong army and powerful economy. It includes people of India distinguishing themselves as scientists, artists and sportspersons. Today, we have in our midst eminent sportspersons. I am sure they would have faced many obstacles but they did not give up and went on to distinguish themselves. I am confident that India will scale these heights. I trust our youth,” he added.
Modi, reaching out to the youth, said it was heartening to see the youngsters from rural India and smaller cities excelling as sportspersons.
“These are also youngsters who need support, which we want to provide. Those who love sports, play for passion and not for monetary rewards. This is why athletes are special. When an Indian sportsperson wins and when he or she gets to hold the Tricolour, it’s an extremely special feeling. It energises the entire nation.”
The opening ceremony saw some breathtaking performances by various artiste groups, with the NCC band girls setting the tone with their dazzling performance. The legendary Indian tradition of ‘teacher-and-student’, referred to as the ‘Guru-Shishya Parampara’ was celebrated in grand style. Depictions of numerous coach-athlete combinations in sports ranging from archery to wrestling, from across the country, were part of the spectacle. All through this ceremony, PM Modi was seen standing in appreciation and respect for some of India’s biggest sports achievers.
The Khelo India programme has been introduced to revive the sports culture in India at the grassroots 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.
The KISG, which began on Wednesday with athletics events and will run until February 8, will see the participation of school students in the under-17 age group across 16 disciplines, namely archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, football, gymnastics, hockey, judo, kabaddi, kho-kho, shooting, swimming, volleyball, weightlifting and wrestling. Talented players in priority sports disciplines at various levels will be provided annual financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh per annum for 8 years.
Under the scheme, in the first year, Rs 50 crore will be earmarked annually for 1,000 athletes for talent nurturing towards training/ coaching, education, diet, consumables and equipment, sport nutrition support, sports science support, lodging, boarding, foreign exposure for competition/training. Every year, 1000 athletes would be added.
The Khelo India programme was envisaged by former sports minister Vijay Goel but was later revamped under the office of his successor Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.