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A Laudable and Timely Initiative

By Mahadev Desai

On Wednesday 31st January, 2018, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared the Khelo India School Games (KISG) open at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in New Delhi. The KISG is an annual initiative launched by Modi to nurture India’s sporting talent and to tap the vast pool of existing talent in the country. It is aimed to promote excellence in sports and mass participation. The glittering event was attended by India’s Sports Min.Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Indian Olympic Association President Narinder Batra, School Games Federation of India President Sushil Kumar, many distinguished sports personalities and their coaches.

PM Modi said that sports is an important means of personality development and Khelo India is not a programme, but a mission... He exhorted youngsters to devote time to sports within their busy schedules, saying,”We are a youthful nation and we can do even better in sports…Those who love sports play for passion and not for monetary rewards.”

Modi said it was gladdening to see youngsters from rural India and smaller cities excelling as sportpersons.He stressed the need to give support at the grassroots level and assured of every possible help to deserving talented youngsters. “We have decided to select 1,000 kids every year from different sports and provide them Rs.5 lakh per annum for eight years.” He further added that childhood coaches of sportspersons who excel on world stage will also be rewarded.

The inaugural event of KISG was held held from January 31 to February 8, across 16 categories:Archery,athletics;badminton;basketball;boxing;football;gymnastics;hockey; judo; kabaddi; khokho; shooting; swimming; volleyball; weightlifting and wrestling. About 4,000 athletes under-17 age group competed for 199 Gold medals. India’s Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in his opening remarks said,” I am delighted with the kind of response KISG has evoked in sports fans all over India.”
It is significant that KISG will promote sports for women, people with disabilities and rural and indigenous games.

The annual KISG event will be broadcast live and will be held at different sports venues in New Delhi.
For a country to perform well at multi-sports international competitions like Olympics or Commonwealth Games, needs years of forward planning, motivation, coaching,s ponsorship, impartianl selection without politics, nepotism,bureaucracy,etc. Undoubtedly, KISG is a step in the right direction and will help India garner more awards in future competitions.