'Neeraj' to be mascot for first Kerala Olympic Games

A rabbit mascot named Neeraj, in honour of Neeraj Chopra, the first Indian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal, will be the symbol for Kerala's maiden Olympic Games.

A rabbit mascot named Neeraj, in honour of Neeraj Chopra, will be the symbol for the first ever 'Kerala Olympic Games'.   -  GETTY IMAGES

A rabbit mascot named Neeraj, in honour of Neeraj Chopra, the first Indian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal, will be the symbol for the first ever 'Kerala Olympic Games', slated to be held in February 2022.

State Education Minister V Sivankutty unveiled the mascot on Wednesday.

The Kerala Olympic Association (KOA) is organising the 'Kerala Olympics Games' from February 15 to 24, 2022.

"The meet will be conducted on 24 disciplines which includes athletics, aquatics, archery, basketball, boxing, badminton, cycling, football, wrestling, hockey, judo, karate, kambadi (Kabadi), KHO- KHO, netball, rugby, rifles (shooting), wushu, tennis, table tennis, Taekwondo, volleyball and weight lifting," the KOA said in a release.

Ahead of the Games, district games will be held in all 14 districts and athletes and teams selected from this level will participate in the Kerala Olympics Games, KOA said.

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Though the main venue of the event will be the state capital, some competitions will be held in some other districts also.

Sivankutty said the event will provide more opportunities for sportspersons in Kerala.

The Minister, at an event held here, said the state government would bring out new schemes to identify the potential of children from the underprivileged classes.

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"We hope the district-state Games will be able to revitalize the sports sector, which has been dormant for the last 20 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new concept of the Kerala Olympic Games, opens up another venue for our athletes," Sivankutty said.

KOA will also hold a mega Olympic Expo at the state capital which includes a sports expo where major sports goods and equipment manufacturers from all over India will participate.

"The Olympics Expo will also showcase commercial, automobile and flower shows along with cultural programs," V Sunil Kumar, President of Kerala Olympic Association said.

S Rajiv, Secretary of Kerala Olympic Association delivered the welcome address.

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