Energetic start to Khelo India Youth Games

The Union sports minister and chief minister's speeches were received with cheers, the colourful and artistic presentation on the electronic canvas, took everyone’s breath away.

The Khelo India Youth Games opening ceremony in Pune.   -  Jignesh Mistry

Pure energy marked the inauguration of the Khelo India Youth Games in the indoor badminton hall of the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi on Wednesday.

While the chief minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis and the Union sports minister Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore's speeches were received with cheers, the colourful and artistic presentation on the electronic canvas, took everyone’s breath away.

The motivation of the Maharashtra government to host the games was to liberate kids from "cyber slavery’’. At the same time, it was showcased how well modern technology can be utilised to give wings to imagination.

Olympic silver medallist Rathore led the pledge and athletes followed. Maharashtra took the opportunity to inspire youngsters and their parents by seating prominent young sportspersons along with their parents in different disciplines on the stage.

The Union Sports Minister reiterated that 1000 athletes from among the 10,000 at the Khelo India Youth Games - featuring the under-17 and under-21 competitions - would get five lakh rupees for five years.

In fact, the attraction of such financial support has brought many top youth athletes from the country to showcase their skills in front of high definition cameras that will beam about 100 hours of live coverage across the country.

The Maharashtra Chief Minister announced the enhanced financial support from the government - running into crores of rupees across different levels - for projects to create sports facilities across the State.

The inauguration started with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message, read by the Sports Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar, emphasising the significance of sports in nation building.

The art of yoga that can lead to a healthy life and sporting excellence formed the core of the presentation and was followed by Maharashtra women's depiction of martial arts.

In his speech, Rathore made it a point to thank Maharashtra for taking up the task of hosting an event that had grown from being a platform for 3500 atheltes to about 10,000 athletes in its second edition. He also emphasised that the new mantra should be "playing is mandatory".

The Maharashtra Chief Minister announced that a Sports University was taking shape in Aurangabad.