New Delhi: The first edition of the Khelo India University Games will be organised by the Odisha government in association with the Sports Authority of India, Association of Indian Universities, National Sports Federation, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and participating universities from February 22 to March 1.
The University Games in the US and European countries are very popular and have helped to spot talent for their Olympic contingents. The Indian government is looking to find more talented athletes by providing a platform for university-level athletes to showcase their talents.
The sports ministry has taken steps to tap talent in the school and national level competitions in the last few years and now they are looking to expand their horizon.
A tennis player from Jain University Rahul Shankar is excited to take part in the Khelo India University Games since there is not a lot of exposure for tennis players in India.
"I am extremely excited to participate in the first edition of the Khelo India University Games. I firmly believe that these Games are a step in the right direction for sports at the collegiate level in our country, especially for tennis since there is not a lot of exposure," said Shankar.
Kalyani Saxena from VNSG University is currently one of the top swimmers of the country, having won 47 medals till date, including seven national medals since 2011. Kalyani's father feels that there is a wave of change coming in terms of college sports.
A serial fencer Ena Arora, from Punjabi University, believes the Khelo India University Games will bring fencing into the national spotlight and enable more athletes to take up the sport.
"I believe the Khelo India University Games will put fencing into the national spotlight and enable more athletes to come out and participate. We have been left frustrated with the lack of competitions and exposure of the sport," said Arora.
Coming out of the Inter-University Games with a bronze medal, Ena is hopeful of bagging gold herself, and with her team at the Khelo India University Games. The tournament which will witness over 4,000 athletes from 176 institutes across India in 17 disciplines will certainly provide a platform for talented athletes to shine on the biggest of stages.