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Updated January 14th, 2024 at 17:52 IST

Five things that are unique to Khelo India Youth Games 2023 in Tamil Nadu

First envisaged as Khelo India School Games back in 2018, the Games have grown in magnitude and have been renamed as the Khelo India Youth Games.

Khelo India Youth Games
Khelo India Youth Games | Image:Special arrangement
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The Khelo India Youth Games is a flagship competition where the future stars in various sports disciplines showcase their skills and are then nurtured for achieving excellence. The much-awaited Khelo India Youth Games 2023, Tamil Nadu will take off on January 19-31, 2024 with competitions being held across four cities -- Chennai, Trichi, Madurai and Coimbatore.

Here we take a look at five unique features of Khelo India Youth Games 2023, Tamil Nadu, that makes the 6th edition of the Youth Games special.

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1. First time in South India

A first for South India as well as for Tamil Nadu when it comes to the Khelo India Youth Games. First envisaged as Khelo India School Games back in 2018, the Games have grown in magnitude and have been renamed as the Khelo India Youth Games.

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This edition of the Games will see the participation of over 5500 sportspersons from across all the Indian states and Union Territories.

2. Historical relevance and Woman as a mascot for the first time

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Mascots for major multi-discipline Games are normally designed around national animals or birds. But Tamil Nadu is the first state to showcase its rich traditional history and is looking to educate the younger generation about the bravery of legendary freedom fighter Rani Velu Nachiyar, who is also referred to as ‘Veera Mangai’ (the brave women).

Rani Velu Nachiyar was the first Indian queen to go to war against the East India Company and her contributions has been projected in school books to encourage children to learn the history and contribution of Veera Mangai in the freedom struggle.

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3. Squash making its Khelo India debut

There is a special bond between Squash and Chennai ever since the Squash Rackets Federation of India established its flagship India Squash Academy in the city way back in 1990. The state has since produced numerous national and international stars and also hosts big-ticket squash events, including the Squash World Cup last year. And keeping with the city’s deep connect with the game, Khelo India has introduced the fast-paced racquet sport to this edition’s list.

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Squash has also been shortlisted as one of the five new sports to be added to the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics program. Hence adding the sport in Khelo India will also be helpful in identifying new talent and broad base the game across the country.

4. Silambam makes debut as demo sport

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Tamil Nadu’s pride and one of the oldest weapon-based martial arts form, Silambam has been practiced in Tamil Nadu since 4th century BC and has extensive reference in Tamil Sangam literature. Named after its primary weapon, the bamboo staff, this martial art form has been recognised by the Union Sports Ministry under the ‘Promotion of inclusiveness through sports’ initiative.

All Khelo India venues will be displaying Silambam and close to 1000 players will be showcasing their mastery over this unique form of martial art as part of demo sport.

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5. Tamil Nadu to host all sports disciplines within the State

In the last two editions of the Khelo India Youth Games, few sports disciplines (shooting & cycling) had to be held outside the host state due to lack of infrastructure. While shooting and cycling were held in Delhi during the Youth Games held in Haryana, cycling was again shifted to Delhi when Madhya Pradesh played hosts in 2022.

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But Tamil Nadu will be the first state in last three editions to be able to host all the sports disciplines including cycling, which will be conducted at the state-of-art velodrome at the Tamil Nadu Physical Education and Sports University (TNPESU) in Melakottaiyur. Shooting events will be held in Velachery and Alamadi, where the finest budding shooters from the state as well as the country will be aiming for the bull’s-eye.

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Published January 14th, 2024 at 17:52 IST

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