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Khelo India University Games

Srihari Nataraj to take KIUG Oath, senior athletes to hand over torch to rising stars

Srihari Nataraj said he felt humbled at being chosen for the sacred and solemn task of taking the Games Oath on behalf of the athletes

Srihari Nataraj

Swimming Ace Srihari Nataraj 


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 22 April 2022 2:23 PM GMT

India's top swimmer, Olympian Srihari Nataraj has been given the honour and responsibility of taking the Khelo India University Games Oath on behalf of the competing athletes at the second Khelo India University Games 2021 at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium here on Sunday.

This will happen after a symbolic transfer of the spotlight is showcased when international stars SV Sunil and Sahana Kumar hand over the torch to young athletes charged with the task of keeping the Tricolour flying high. It will culminate with Asian Youth Boxing Champion Vinka and Jain University's tennis star Lokitaksha Badrinath lighting the digital flame of KIUG2021.

It will be an emotional moment to watch two home-bred athletes, Sowmarpet Vittalcharya Sunil, who has played 264 matches for the Indian men's Hockey team including in two Olympic Games and Asian Games, and National Record holding High Jumper Sahana Kumari handed over the digital torch to rising stars.

Taking over from their seniors, the 18-year-old Archer Tanisha Verma and 21-year-old badminton player K Sai Pratheek will run a leg of the torch relay before handing it over to the 2019 Asian Youth Boxing Championships 64kg class gold medalist Vinka, 19, and tennis player Lokitaksha Badrinath to run the final lap and light the digial KIUG2021 Flame.

Srihari Nataraj said he felt humbled at being chosen for the sacred and solemn task of taking the Games Oath on behalf of the athletes. "It is a huge honour and a responsibility," he said. "I am sure all athletes will strive to uphold the spirit of fair play and commit to clean sport as we recognise the key role sport plays in our lives."

The Olympian swimmer, preparing for this year's Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, acknowledged role Khelo India's role in his journey. "It was at the Khelo India School Games in Delhi that everyone started noticing me. I enjoyed competing in the Khelo India Youth Games in Pune and am looking forward to my maiden Khelo India University Games," he said.

Sahana Kumari, who works with the Sports Authority of India, said she is very excited that the honour had been bestowed on her. "It is the first time I have done this. That it comes in my home city is a huge honour," she said. "I wish the KIUG2021 competitors the very best. It is a great opportunity for them to showcase their talent in such a wonderful platform."

The former High Jumper who is now a World Athletics certified Level 2 coach said all athletes now aspire to compete in the Khelo India Games. "With the kind of enthusiasm and expectation that I see around me, I believe the Khelo India University Games is already an important event in every athlete's career," she said.

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