Guwahati, January 10: The third edition of the Khelo India Youth Games got off to an emotional start here on Friday evening, with lakhs of television viewers joining over 25,000 spectators at the Indira Gandhi Stadium to celebrate the spirit of One India.
Assam’s Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju launched the Games during a spectacular opening ceremony, marked by a high-tech laser show and wholesome entertainment.
In a unique show of solidarity, top athletes from all the seven North-Eastern states joined Assam’s champion athletes in the final torch relay before star runner Hima Das lit the symbolic Games Flame. Every segment was carefully planned to showcase India’s unity within its diversity.
“I welcome all athletes from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from Arunachal to Gujarat. Over the next 13 days, showcase your talent to the best of your ability because the entire nation is looking forward to seeing you play and bloom,” Chief Minister Sonowal said, encouraging the future stars of India.
Close to 6,800 athletes from 37 states and Union Territories will compete in the beautiful city of Guwahati, which has been decked up like a bride, over the next fortnight, hoping to grab medals, scholarships and greater glory across 20 sports disciplines.
“I want to assure Assam that the Government of India will extend every support to realise its dream of becoming the sports capital of the country,” Union Sports Minister Rijiju said, while lauding the state’s efforts to host a spectacular event.
The colourful Opening Ceremony, which saw over 400+ cast members, 400+ technical and support staff, wowed the audience with its creativity and innovativeness. A beautiful full moon made a guest appearance overhead, in its full splendour, even as a special act to tell the story of Assam unfolded.
Using the mighty Brahmaputra as the backdrop, in the form of waving girls, scores of youngsters danced and blended into various contours and shapes to tell a fascinating tale. Every aspect of Assam and its most famous exports were showcased before everybody moulded into the map of the country, to once again highlight the grand idea called One India.
The Opening Ceremony also gave a glimpse of the 20 sporting disciplines in a unique manner, with a dancing troupe putting up an energetic performance to indicate the many battles over the next few days. The entire playing turf and the stands in the background turned into props, becoming a mesmerising collage of light and colour.
Bollywood’s popular singer and music composer Shankar Mahadevan then took the stage, entertaining the audience with a number of hits, each underscoring the importance of One India. The National Anthem rendered by the Assam Rifles Band, the introduction off the mascots while the Games Theme song played, indeed each and everything seamlessly meshed into one powerful message: India is One.