Bhubaneswar, Feb 21: Director General of Sports Authority of India Sandip Pradhan hailed the Khelo India University Games (KIUG) as the future of Indian sports, declaring that they would unearth many more Olympians for India.
The first edition of the ambitious KIUG will begin on Saturday, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating the event through video conferencing during the opening ceremony. Indian Oil Corporation and GAIL are the official sponsors of the event.
“University games are very popular across the world. The World University Games are only second to the Olympics. The University games bring champions together who go on to represent the country in the future,” Sandip Pradhan said.
“In order to integrate education and sport, the Khelo India Youth Games were launched in 2017 and now we are organising the first edition of the Khelo India University Games. I’m very happy that the first edition is being hosted by the Government of Odisha. The State has done a wonderful job in supporting sports over the years,” the DG added.
The KIUG-2020 Odisha will have 3343 athletes (Male- 1738, Female- 1605) from 159 Universities, apart from technical and supporting staff participating in the event. The Games will have 17 sports disciplines, starting from Archery, Athletics, Boxing, Fencing, Judo, Swimming, Weightlifting, Wrestling, Badminton, Basketball, Football, Hockey, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball, Rugby to Kabaddi.
The games will be staged across 10 venues between Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack. The number of medals up for grabs is 206 Gold, 206 Silver and 286 Bronze. The Games are being telecast live on Star Sports, Hotstar and Doordarshan.
Top universities like the Panjab University-Chandigarh, Guru Nanak Dev University-Amritsar, Maharishi Dayanand University-Rohtak, Punjabi University-Patiala and Delhi University Sports Council, Delhi will all be vying for top honors at the first ever Khelo India University Games.