Updated February 22nd, 2024 at 18:18 IST

A more streamlined Khelo India Winter Games will help athletes chase their dreams: Sports minister

The second and final chapter of the Khelo India Winter Games 2024 got underway in Gulmarg on Wednesday.

Lt. Governor of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Shri Manoj Sinha | Image:KIWG 2024
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The curtains went up on the second and final chapter of the Khelo India Winter Games 2024 with snowflakes sweeping the iconic Gulmarg Club on Wednesday evening. The Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Shri Nisith Pramanik and the Lt. Governor of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Shri Manoj Sinha, inaugurated the meet. The first part of the Winter Games were held in Ladakh for the first time from Feb 2-6.

The Hon’ble Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, through a video message, inspired the almost 500 participants who are attending the Winter Games here. This is a unique phase for the Khelo India mission as the University Games are being simultaneously held in the North-East of India.

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“This edition of the Khelo India Winter Games holds a special significance. For the first time, the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, in collaboration with the Sports Authority of India, is directly managing the technical conduct of the Games. This ensures streamlined operations and sets a new standard for future editions,” said Shri Thakur.

Shri Thakur inspired the Gulmarg participants by saying how India have grown stronger at the global level in winter Olympics. From a rather insignificant start in 1968 to a 16-year-old Shiva Keshavan in the 1998 Winter Olympics to Alpine skier Arif Mohammed Khan at the 2022 Winter Olympics, the minister said how India have come a long way.

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“Khelo India is not just about participation, it’s about providing quality training, infrastructure and exposure to empower you to achieve your dreams. The experience you gain here will propel you forward for national glory or international,” said Shri Thakur.

Lt Governor of J&K Shri Sinha said he was expecting some solid competition. “It is a momentous occasion for athletes who have been preparing for this spectacular event. The Games, over the next four days, will honour the hard work, skills, dedication and sporting excellence while it will renew the spirit of brotherhood, peace and harmony among all the teams,” said Shri Sinha.

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Union Minister of State Shri Pramanik highlighted the beauty of the Games. While lauding Maharashtra for winning the first stage of the Games in Ladakh, Shri Pramanik said, “To all athletes competing, play with passion, compete with sportsmanship. May your performance inspire generations to come and paint the canvas of Indian winter sports with vibrant colours.”

Gulmarg will stage four events – ski mountaineering, Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and snowboard. On Day 1, Nordic skiing saw Army men sweeping all three top positions. Karnataka, who clinched six skating gold medals in Ladakh, made a strong start in Gulmarg when their Bhavani Thekkada won the women’s Nordic skiing sprint (1.6 km) gold. Selma Soreng and Sapna of ITBP finished second and third, respectively.

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In the men's Nordic skiing spring (10 km) competition, all three positions were taken by the Army. Padma Namgail won gold while Mangeet and Rameez Ahmad Paddar settled for silver and bronze, respectively. 

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Published February 22nd, 2024 at 18:18 IST