Haryana will host the fourth edition of the Khelo India Youth Games after the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, the state's chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and union sports minister Kiren Rijiju announced on Saturday. The Games will be held in Panchkula.
The announcement was made via video conference. "Usually the Khelo India Youth Games take place in January of every year. However, this time owing to the pandemic, we have to postpone it," Rijiju said. "However, I am sure by the time we host the Games the pandemic will abate and we will be able to host the Games at the same scale, with participation of all states and over 10,000 participants."
Haryana has done well in all three editions of KIYG. While they came second in both 2019 and 2020 editions (200 medals in 2020 and 159 medals in 2019) they won it in 2018 with 102 podium finishes (38 gold, 26 silver, 38 bronze).
"As a state Haryana has always promoted sports in a big way and supported its athletes. Hosting the Khelo India Youth Games in Haryana will only add greater impetus to our commitment towards creating a strong sporting ecosystem," Khattar said. "Haryana has done very well in the last few editions of Khelo India Youth Games and many of our athletes are already training under the Khelo India Scheme. Panchkula is equipped with the best sporting infrastructure to host a multi-sport event like Khelo India Youth Games and there is enough lodging facilities for the large number of participants who are expected to attend."
Haryana has produced many elite athletes, such as, wrestlers Yogeshwar Dutt, Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, and Vinesh Phogat, para-athlete Deepa Malik, athlete Neeraj Chopra, boxer Amit Panghal and shooters Sanjeev Rajput, Manu Bhakar, Anish Bhanwala, among others, who have represented and won medals for India at international platforms.
Rijiju said, "Haryana already has a very strong sporting culture and has given the country some of its best athletes. I am sure that with the Games being hosted in the state, more and more aspiring athletes from Haryana will be motivated to take up competitive sport."