Days ahead of the first-ever Khelo India University Games, Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday had called the inter-university games festival a revolutionary step in the country.
"The event is funded by the Sports Ministry in association with the state government. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and National Sports Federations (NSF) are also supporting the event. This is a revolutionary step by the government as we started the University Games in India for the first-time," Rijiju told ANI.
"Earlier, the inter-university games did not get government support. It was all self-funded tournaments by the universities in different sports like athletics, football, volleyball, and table tennis to name a few. From this year onwards, all universities around the country will get recognised under Associations of Indian Universities and will take part in Khelo India University Games," Rijiju said.
Khelo India University Games' anthem has been launched! Another chapter is added to promote sports in India. Special thanks to @dpradhanbjp ji for making Indian Oil Corp as the principle partner of the #KIUGOdisha2020 and I appreciate Odisha Govt for the excellent support. pic.twitter.com/Fz30yS7Dgu— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) February 17, 2020
Rijiju also spoke about the Kambala jockey from Karnataka who became an overnight sensation after his record of running 145 metres in 13.62 at the traditional sport. Rijiju said that he has arranged trials for the Kambala jockey after he broke the record in the Kambala event. Netizens have compared the Kambala jockey with the fastest sprinter Usain Bolt.
"I have ordered if he is physically fit then his trial should be conducted. If he is up to the standard, we will take him to the camp. We will give proper chance to every player in this country," Rijiju said adding, "Standard of Olympics is different from traditional sports. It is not right to compare the two as we cannot go by the amateur record but only by official trial."
The Khelo India University Games will be held at KIIT University, Bhubaneshwar, Odisha from February 22, 2020, to March 1, 2020. In this event, 17 games will be held for the individual as well as a team event. The games include archery, athletics, boxing, fencing, judo, swimming, weightlifting, wrestling, badminton, basketball, football, hockey, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, rugby, and kabaddi. Approximately 4,000 athletes from around 80-100 universities, apart from technical and supporting staff will take part in this event.