Pune: The second edition of the Khelo India Youth Games is set to officially kick off on Wednesday. Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will attend a virtual torch ceremony at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex on Wednesday evening. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the event through a video message.
A host of athletes will be in action at the event. They include world cadet champion wrestlers Anshu and Sonam Malik, Olympian athlete Jisna Mathew, Youth Olympics gold medalist weight-lifter Jeremy Lalrinnunga, tennis player Mahak Jain and swimming star Srihari Nataraj.
The athletes will compete in 18 different disciplines, of which six are team sports.
The Balewadi complex will be the main venue and it has been refurbished with funds from the Centre and the Maharashtra government. Archery events will be held at the Army Sports Institute and the girls' hockey matches will be staged at the NDA hockey ground.
The maiden edition of the Youth Games last year was a success and this year a much bigger and better version has been planned. For the first time students from colleges and universities are in the fray, and about 9,000 participants are expected at the event.
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 our country and establish India as a great sporting nation. The programme aims to improve play fields and community coaching, physical fitness of school children as well as sports for women and those with disabilities. Utilisation and development of sports infrastructure, support to sports academies and promotion of rural and indigenous/tribal games are also its goals.
As part of the programme, talented players identified in priority sports disciples at various levels will be provided annual financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh per annum for 8 years.
Khelo India Youth Games is a part of the revamped national programme for development of sports.