A spectacular show preceded the 10 days of elite action at the Khelo India University Games Uttar Pradesh 2022 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually inaugurating the event in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday.
In total 4000+ athletes from across the country have arrived to take part in the pinnacle tournament with the mantra of Kaushal, Niti and Dhairya (Skills, Strategy, and Patience) and 'Garv se Gaurav' as the guiding force of the event.
On this occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address extended his best wishes to the players participating in the Khelo India University Games and praised the UP government for the organization of the Khelo India University Games which he said will change the sports environment in the universities as this sports festival will take the country to a new height.
Khelo India has also restored the prestige of India's traditional sports", the Prime Minister said as he highlighted the scholarships provided by the Government to encourage various indigenous sports like Gatka, Mallakhamb, Thang-ta, Kalaripayattu and Yogasan.
He further said, "The event will culminate in my constituency Varanasi and I am looking forward to the same. Tournaments like Khelo India University Games help inculcate team spirit and there will be cultural exchanges between players of different states. The athletes will carry back great experiences from the games which will be etched in their memories forever. In the past 9 years, a new sports revolution has started. This revolution isn't just to make India a powerhouse but to strengthen the social fabric of our country."
He then announced the games open which was accompanied by vibrant fireworks.
Among other dignitaries present were UP CM Yogi Adityanath and Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur and MoS Sports Nisith Pramanik, UP Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak, UP Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Sports and Youth Welfare Girish Chandra Yadav, Cabinet Minister Rakesh Sachan and UP Additional Chief Secretary Navneet Sehgal.
The event started with the symbolic story of Ramayan showcasing the rich Indian culture and tradition at a projection mapping on the octagon-shaped giant suspended screens 50ft. from the ground in front of fascinated spectators. The special focus was to put a spotlight on the "Guru-Shishya" parampara (Coach and Student" tradition) which was weaved in through the legendary story of Dronacharya and Arjun. It is the lineage of passing knowledge from a succession of gurus to students through oral tradition.
The show was eye-catching, as the artists presented a narrative of the transformation story from the rich culture and heritage to the modern growth of Uttar Pradesh of New India. The game's mascot Jeetu the Barasingha, the exotic vibrant state animal who embodies "Garv se Gaurav" energized the environment alongside mascots of previous games, Jai and Vijay. An icon of women's athletics in India and around the globe, Olympian Sudha Singh alongside Danish Mujtaba, Olympian (in hockey), Commonwealth medallist in Judo Vijay Yadav and Indian hockey player Preeti Dubey lit up the torch. An AV was played showcasing the rich sports heritage of Uttar Pradesh solidifying its position as the "State of Champions".
'Shakti', the official torch of the Khelo India University Games, Uttar Pradesh is a symbol of not only its heritage and the spirit it embodies but also a living entity that is brimming with energy. The river Ganga is etched on 'Shakti' to inspire every athlete to keep moving forward towards their ultimate goal, and the upward-pointing, future-facing arrow celebrates the glorious past and the future of Uttar Pradesh. Shakti is also blessed with the peacock feather and lotus petals at the origin of light, to manifest its calm energy that can move mountains and is a powerful source of inspiration and motivation.
Students of the host university, Babu Banarasi Das University alongside NCC Cadets welcomed the Torch back which went around the entire state in the past 20 days and involved more than 5 lakh people in its way, creating buzz and excitement around the games.
Emphasis was also laid on ensuring sustainability during the games and an oath was taken to ensure the same with the "Life Mission Oath."
The official anthem of KIUGUP2022, "Khelo India - Har Dil Mein Desh", composed and sung by renowned singer Palash Sen was performed LIVE by Kailash Kher, setting the tone for the tournament.
Fans are expected to turn out in force in Lucknow, Varanasi, GB Nagar, Gorakhpur and New Delhi to support local athletes who will come up against big names from across the country.
Yogi Adityanath Ji, Hon'ble Chief Minister, Government of Uttar Pradesh said: "Under the vision and guidance of PM Narendra Modi ji, sports is ushering to new heights whether it is Khelo India or FIT India. Sports will ensure the vision of "Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat" and we are proud to host the Khelo India University Games. We are building sports fields in every Gram Panchayat and providing sports kits to Mahila Mangal Dal in every district. We are also providing jobs to athletes, cash awards and have reserved positions for those who win medals for the state and the country. We are energizing the movement of Khelo India and welcoming all the athletes, officials, and everyone involved in the organising of the games. "
Anurag Singh Thakur joined virtually and said, "We have stepped foot into the 3rd edition of the Khelo India University Games finally and what a journey it has been for the Khelo India games. It has been the vision of our Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji to make sports an integral part of the lives of India's large youth population. What started off as a pilot project in 2018 as the Khelo India School Games has now reached international standards with 5 editions of the Khelo India Youth Games and 2 editions of University Games taking place. There has been record participation and record medal-breaking instances."
"I commend Yogi Adityanath and his Uttar Pradesh Government in doing everything possible to amplify the games across the entire length and breadth of the country. Medical facilities too are being given much importance during the games. In light of the scorching heat, there will be ample arrangements of drinking water made at all the venues and health facilities will also be made available. Doctors will be on duty and general medicines will be made available. Hospitals have also been identified around the venues that can be utilised if the requirement arises. Along with this, there will be adequate arrangements made for an ambulance as well. It is our collective responsibility to make it a grand."
Girish Chandra Yadav said, "Uttar Pradesh is leading the way when it comes to sport whether supporting the athletes on field or off the field. We are ready and prepared to welcome athletes from all over the country to our state."
Navneet Sehgal said, "The waiting is finally over, and there is great excitement as Uttar Pradesh gives a warm welcome to athletes as it stages a landmark edition of the Khelo India University Games Uttar Pradesh 2022. We have ensured smooth arrangements for everyone and we hope that athletes will go back as ambassadors of the state. We are anticipating an exceptionally high standard of competition and this is also an outstanding opportunity for all the athletes across the state to cement their respect universities reputation as the powerhouse of sports." (ANI)