Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Friday declared the third edition of Khelo India Winter Games open in Gulmarg.
He also launched 40 Khelo India centres and announced that a Centre of Excellence for winter sports would come up in the valley soon.
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Declaring the Games open, Thakur said his ministry ”would keep helping Jammu and Kashmir financially, providing the best of coaches, etc.” ”I am also happy to let you know that a Centre of Excellence for Winter Sports will be opening here soon,” he said, while e-launching of 40 Khelo India Centres across the valley.
Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha was also present at the opening ceremony on Friday and said sports can be a vehicle of transformation for society and unite the people of the country.
Sinha said the sports infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir is now at par with the top sporting states of the country.
“Sports can be a vehicle of transformation not only for an individual but for a society as well," Sinha said addressing the inauguration ceremony of the 3rd edition of Khelo India Winter Games here, 55 kilometres from Srinagar.
The Lt Governor said hosting the Khelo India Winter Games was a proud moment for Jammu and Kashmir.
“These games have united the entire country as participants from 29 states and Union territories are here. I invite all our guests to enjoy our hospitality, and the scenes and sounds of Kashmir," he said.
Sinha expressed hope that the 1,500 players from across the country participating in the games will go back as ambassadors of Kashmir.
“I wish the participants in these games will act as ambassadors for Jammu and Kashmir," he added.
Sinha said the sports infrastructure has seen a significant improvement in J-K in the past few years.
“J-K’s sports budget is a mere Rs 38 crore less than a big state like Maharashtra. Our budget is more than states like Kerala," he said and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking a keen interest in the development of sports infrastructure.
“Our nation was deprived of the soft power of sports for the past 60 years but that has changed due to the interest taken by PM Narendra Modi," he added.
Over 1500 athletes from 29 states and Union Territories are competing in 11 sports disciplines in the ongoing Winter Games that will go on till Tuesday.
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