Haryana will host the fourth edition of the Khelo India Youth Games in Panchkula next year. While the state had hosted national championships of badminton, para-athletics, boxing and cricket tournaments like ICL in the past, this will be the first time that the state will host a multi-state multi-game tournament. The decision was announced by Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Kiren Rijuju in Delhi.
Rijuju was accompanied by Haryana Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Sandeep Singh while Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar attended the meeting via online platform.
“It’s a huge honour for Haryana to host the Khelo India Games and it was the vision of our CM Manohar Lal Khattar that we had proposed to host the fourth edition of Khelo India Games in our state. I am thankful to Kiren Rijiju ji for giving us this opportunity. While Haryana’s contribution in terms of winning medals for India has been the highest, the state had not hosted any national games in the past. This opportunity will also motivate youngsters and imbibe competition spirit in the youth of the state. Having multi-sport infrastructure for games like athletics, football, wrestling, badminton and good connectivity worked in favour of Panchkula. We will make sure that any shortcomings in terms of infrastructure are removed,” Singh told The Indian Express from Delhi.
On being asked whether hockey tournaments can be held at nearby Shahbad as Panchkula does not have a full asto-turf stadium, Singh said nothing is finalised yet. “We have got more than 16 months to prepare and we will decide about this once things are finalised,” Singh added.
Rijuju said that the tentative dates for the event will be towards the end of 2021.
In the past, while neighbouring state Punjab had hosted the national games in 2011, Haryana had missed out on hosting national games of any kind. The state has more than 80 stadiums, including more than 10 sports complexes in cities like Panchkula, Gurgaon, Rohtak, Faridabad and Sonipat. The newly renovated multi-purpose hall at Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex, Panchkula, was completed in 2018 with a cost of more than Rs 13 crore. In the third edition of Khelo India Games held at Guwahati, more than 10,000 players and officials were part of the event.
Haryana sports department officials are confident of hosting the event successfully. “Our Sports Minister Sandeep Singh, who himself is a former Indian hockey captain, understands the need of having good infrastructure. If needed, some events can be hosted at Ambala and Karnal. In Panchkula, the multi-purpose hall has hosted matches of Pro Kabaddi League and junior ranking national badminton championships in recent years. The athletics track has played host to national para athletics games in 2016 and 2018 apart from matches of I-League being held at the football ground. We are confident of playing host to more than 10,000 players. Under the vision of CM M L Khattar, we also want to bring youth from villages to see the multi-sport event,” said S S Phulia, director sports, Haryana.
After topping the medal tally with a total of 108 medals in the inaugural edition of Khelo India games at Delhi in 2018, Haryana had finished second in the last two editions of the games. In 2019, Haryana finished second in the medal tally with a total of 178 medals while in 2020, Haryana finished second with 200 medals. “Sports is in the heart and body of every citizen of Haryana and sports play a huge part in the state’s society. Haryana leads the country in terms of cash awards and giving jobs to the players. This opportunity to host Khelo India Games will be an important milestone in the state’s history. Haryana players don’t only play for medals but also for the honour of Harayna and it’s their zeal which sets Haryana apart. Haryana topped the medal tally in Khelo India games in 2018 and won more than 200 medals in 2020 edition. And our players will be ready to win medals in front of their home crowd in 2021. Regarding infrastructure, my government is ready to complete anything which is needed in terms of infrastructure in the coming months,” said Khattar in the meeting.
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