Khelo India University Games inaugurated; PM Modi emphasizes importance of honouring athletes’ achievements

Guwahati: 4544 athletes from across India to compete in 18 different venues spread over north-eastern states

BY | Monday, 19 February, 2024

The Khelo India University Games was inaugurated at Guwahati, Assam on Monday by Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Singh Thakur. The Games is being held across the seven states in the Northeast.

Addressing the occasion via video message, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised the importance of celebrating and honouring athletes’ achievements stating, “Just as academic achievements are celebrated, we must develop a tradition of honouring those who excel in sports.”

Noting the mascot of the Khelo India University Games, i.e. Ashtalakshmi in the shape of a butterfly, he said “making a butterfly the mascot in these games also symbolizes how the aspirations of the North East are getting new wings.”

“Play wholeheartedly, play fearlessly, win for yourself and your team, and even if you lose, do not fret. Every setback is an opportunity to learn”, the Prime Minister encouraged the participants, adding that “Success in sports requires more than just talent; it demands temperament, leadership, teamwork, and resilience.”

PM Modi emphasized the need to learn from the NorthEast region’s rich sports culture, where sports are celebrated fervently, inspiring athletes across disciplines from football to athletics, badminton to boxing, weightlifting to chess. He expressed confidence that athletes participating in the Khelo India University Games would not only gain valuable experiences but also contribute to the advancement of sports culture throughout India.

Further, Modi urged athletes to explore the beauty of the North East region beyond the sports arena. He encouraged them to embark on post-event adventures, capture memories, and share their experiences on social media using the hashtag #NorthEastMemories. Additionally, he suggested learning a few local phrases to engage with the communities they visit, enhancing their cultural experience. PM Modi asked them to experiment with Bhashini App too.

On the occasion Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Singh Thakur said that after the huge success of the Khelo India University Games held last year in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and the first Khelo India Winter Games in Ladakh, it is now our turn to shine with this year’s University Games here in Guwahati.

He also said that the 4th Khelo India University Games is set to be an exciting showcase for 4544 athletes from across the nation, competing in 18 different venues spread over the north-eastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Nagaland, and Tripura – our Ashtalakshmi.

Thakur added that this grand event will cover 20 sports disciplines, including athletics, rugby, swimming, badminton, hockey, and football, among others. He also informed that as part of   our mission of promoting a Fit India, we’ve also incorporated yoga and traditional sports such as Mallakhamb into the event line-up.

He also said that let these games ignite a flame of passion and unity across our great nation. May the 4th Khelo India University Games be remembered not just for the records broken or medals won, but for the friendships forged, the barriers broken, and the collective dream of a Viksit Bharat.

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