Minister of State for Sports Vinod Tawde on Saturday said that the government’s objective is to increase sports penetration in every district.
The minister said this at a press meet while talking about Khelo India Youth Games 2019, an initiative to recognise and groom young sportsperson from across the country. It will be conducted at Shiv Chatrapati Krida Sankul in Balewadi, along with other venues, between January 8 and 20. The event will be inaugurated on January 9 in the presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.
“It is a matter of pride for Maharashtra and Pune to host the second edition of Khelo India games. The state secured the second highest number of gold medals in the first edition. Maharashtra competed with Chhattisgarh and Odisha in hosting the games, and successfully won the bid,” said Tawde.
“While development of sports infrastructure may be seen as the effect of games, our objective is also to increase sports penetration in every district. It is important to increase the numbers of sportspersons winning medals, and also the ones interested in playing. If young kids in Osmanabad district, for example, can watch a player from their district, they would be motivated to play, and that is what we are aiming for,” the minister said.
The second edition of the event will be held across 18 disciplines in two categories – under-21 and under-17 – with more than 12,000 sportspersons expected to participate from across the country. While most of the games will be conducted in the sports complex at Balewadi, hockey will be conducted at the Maharashtra Hockey Association’s ground in Mumbai and Hockey ground in National Defence Academy complex. Other venues include police ground in Shivaji Nagar, football ground of Flame University campus, and Army Sports of India complex.
Talking about the increasing doping incidents in sports, Deputy Director General of Sports Authority of India (SAI) Sandip Pradhan said, “As all the participants are expected to arrive a day or two prior to the event, we will be organising an anti-doping orientation conducted by National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA). The participants will also be tested during the competition, and will be certified by NADA during the orientation.”
Tawde said that a Rs 14-crore budget will be sanctioned by the Centre for development of the infrastructure and allocation of Rs 35 crore for accommodation and other facilities for the participants. He also said that the demand for a new hockey ground in Pune will be included in the forthcoming budget.