Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday evening inaugurated the fifth edition of the Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG) at a glittering function here, kick-starting a sporting extravaganza that will see participation from nearly 6,000 athletes from across the country in 27 disciplines.
The CM declared the Games open at the Tatya Tope stadium in the state capital Bhopal. "The Khelo India Youth Games will be historic in Madhya Pradesh," Chouhan said on the occasion.
Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Anurag Singh Thakur and Madhya Pradesh Sports Minister Yashodhara Raje Scindia, among others, were present on the occasion. Speaking at the inaugural function, Chouhan congratulated India U-19 women's team for winning the T20 World Cup in South Africa on Sunday.
The 13-day-long sporting event will groom players for future international competitions like the Asiad, the Commonwealth and the Olympic Games, he said and pointed out that in the last edition of the KIYG, Madhya Pradesh had won 38 medals.
Earlier, Thakur said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sanctioned a budget of Rs 3,200 crore for the Khelo India programme for the next five years. He said people associated with the event should organise the KIYG in such a manner that Madhya Pradesh is able to host the National Games and also other big sporting meets in the coming years.
The KIYG will be held at 23 venues across eight cities of the state in which nearly 6,000 athletes will take part in 27 different sports, an official said. For the first time, sports like kayaking, canoeing, canoe slalom and fencing will be part of the Khelo India Youth Games.
The Games are being held in eight MP cities - Bhopal, Indore, Ujjain, Gwalior, Jabalpur Mandla, Balaghat and Khargone (Maheshwar) - while the cycling event will take place in Delhi, another official said.
A total of 303 international and 1,089 national officials will be part of the Games and nearly 2,000 volunteers will be deployed at different venues for hassle-free organization of the sporting event, the official added.