Khelo India Youth Games had moments to cherish, says Rathore

Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore promises proper follow-up of the Khelo India Youth Games.

Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore at the Khelo India Youth Games 2019 in Pune.   -  PTI

For Hemant Jogdeo, a 91-year-old Marathi sports scribe based in Pune, the Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG) at Balewadi signified the progress the nation had made on the organisational front.

Having covered four editions of Olympics, he should know. “The infrastructure for the event and the overall conduct was top class,” he gushed, the sparkle in his eyes conveying the joy the young athletes brought to the audience.

“This is what we had aimed at. To create a system, to create a brand of value, we needed a platform. Khelo India is that platform. It helps a youngster combine sports with education. We are going to develop the individual to combine his talent at sports and education. They are the bedrock of any system, a system that takes you close to perfection. We are now encouraging private academies to join hands with us to produce champions. I am glad to say that we have identified these academies of high standards,” Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore told Sportstar.

On the gains from KIYG, Rathore said, “The youngsters got to compete in international standard arenas. They showcased their talent, not just the winners, with a sense of pride. The competition had moments to cherish in life for the participants. It was the Prime Minister's clarion call for states to mingle and KIYG provided that platform. The athletes experienced ten days of unforgettable togetherness.”

The KIYG, according to Rathore, created a healthy atmosphere for the youth. “It highlighted the emphasis of playing among students, parents and teachers. The emphasis of sports in our life was highlighted too. Let me tell you that the SAI (Sports Authority of India) is developing into the best sports management company in the country. We are in the process of creating structural changes to maximise the potential capablity of our youth and transform them into best in the world.”

Rathore promised proper follow-up of the KIYG. “I would like to thank the media for its support. The media has helped the young champions to believe in themselves by highlighting their achievements. We will engage former champions to be the mentors of these youngsters. Those selected will be provided the platform to become bigger champions.”

For SAI Director General Neelam Kapur the gains from the KIYG have been multiple. “We provided them top class travel accommodation. We have identified athletes to perform at another level. They will receive scolarships and we would ne monitoring their progress. It is a huge aspirational platform for the children. The KIYG gives them a degree of confidence useful at the international level. The KIYG will help inculcate culture of sports at the state level and will be permanent part of the sporting calendar.”