First ever Khelo India Winter Games starts at Gulmarg

0

Gulmarg

Amid the coronavirus scare, first-ever Khelo India Winter Games started on Saturday at famous tourist resort Gulmarg in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju and Advisor to lieutenant governor Farooq Khan inaugurates Khelo India Winter Games-2020 in Gulmarg on Saturday, March 07, 2020. Kl Image by Bilal Bahadur

The event was inaugurated by Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju in presence of Advisor Farooq Ahmad Khan.

Inaugurating the maiden Khelo India Winter Games here today, Rijiju said that Jammu and Kashmir has a huge potential in the sports sector and Government would do everything possible to upgrade the sports infrastructure and sports ecology of the Himalayan region.

He said that with an aim to promote winter sports in India, the Government of India would setup National Excellence Center of Winter Sports in Gulmarg. “It will be a residential facility funded by GoI where professional winter games athletes will be trained for world-class competitions,” he added.

Artists perform a cultural dance during the inaugural function of Khelo India Khelo Winter Games at Gulmarg on Saturday, March 7, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

The Union Minister said that Government would encourage interested athletes or retired sports veterans for setting up sports centers across Jammu and Kashmir. “Coaches of different sports categories will be given Rs 5 Lakh for setting up sports centers across J&K,” he assured, adding “It will not only help us to identify talent and hone their skills in various sports but will be a source of employment as well.”

Saying that J&K has a huge talent, the Union Minister complimented the local players for bagging medals in various national and international events. He said that this is a historic event not only for J&K but for the whole country. “Those who are here today at this place are lucky. This is the beginning of mega sports events in Gulmarg. More mega-events are in pipeline for this place,” he said.

Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju, Advisor to lieutenant governor Farooq Khan and Secretary Sports Sarmad Hafeez holding a banner during Khelo India Winter Games-2020 inaugural ceremony in Gulmarg on Saturday, March 07, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

The Union Minister said he is hopeful that with the culmination of the event footfall of tourists will increase. He said he was impressed with the enthusiasm shown by the athletes in today’s event.

Extending an invitation to sports and nature lovers, the Union Minister said the travellers should come and feel the natural wonder here. “Only then they can realise what paradise on Earth is,” he said. He said the winter games will give a big fillip to the tourism industry here. He said tourists don’t need to go to Europe when Kashmir is just in the country. “Travellers should come here and enjoy the beauty and also fun-filled winter activities.”

Meanwhile, advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Farooq Khan said that sports can be a game-changer for bringing Jammu and Kashmir back on track of prosperity and development.

Players enjoy skiing during the inauguration ceremony of Khelo India Winter Games-2020 in Gulmarg on Saturday, March 07, 2020. Kl Image by Bilal Bahadur

Farooq Khan hailed the initiative of Government of India (GoI) to hold such mega sports activities in Jammu and Kashmir. He said that Sports Authority of India (SAI) has done remarkable work for roping in several agencies at all levels to hold this mega sports event in world-famed Gulmarg—which will also give a flip to the tourism sector of the valley.

“Sports can be a real game-changer,” he said. “We must focus on getting more youngsters to play best sports and produce Olympians,” he added.

The Advisor said that sports activities inculcate discipline and positivity among the youngsters.

Players taking a selfie together during inaugural the ceremony of Khelo India Winter Games-2020 in Gulmarg on Saturday, March 07, 2020. Kl Image by Bilal Bahadur

He said that Jammu and Kashmir Government under the leadership of Lieutenant Governor also aims to bring sports infrastructure at par with national and international standards.

“Our aim is to see more and more athletes on the podium and at other international events like the Asian and the Commonwealth Games,” he said.

“We are highly thankful to GoI, especially to Union Sports Ministry for accepting our plans to execute sports programmes on the ground,” he said. “Our only aim is that such programmes will create a sporting revolution,” he added.

The Advisor Khan said that there was a need to revamp the entire sports eco-system and bring it on the lines of Khelo India where athletes will have the best possible sports infrastructure available.

The Advisor Khan said that Government was further aiming to upgrade infrastructure, community sports, talent identification, coaching for excellence, competition structure and the sports economy. He said that the government was constructing new indoor and outdoor stadium—besides other main sports stadiums are being renovated as per the standards of the international level so that the sports enthusiasts get requisite facilities.

Artists performing Dhambali Dance during inauguration the ceremony of Khelo India Winter Games-2020 in Gulmarg on Saturday, March 07, 2020. Kl Image by Bilal Bahadur

Notably, there are about 30 events including snowboarding, snow skiing, cross country and snowshoe in which players from across India are participating. Besides this, snow cycling and other games are also held for the local children.

Pertinently, the world-famous ski destination Gulmarg is abuzz with the several activities held under five- day national winter games event starting from today under Khelo India- a national programme for the development of sports.

On the occasion, Rijiju has presented a memento by Advisor to Lt Governor, Farooq Khan.

Artists from Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages enthralled the audience with their performances.

Flute Artists performing during the inaugural ceremony of Khelo India Winter Games-2020 in Gulmarg on Saturday, March 07, 2020. Kl Image By Bilal Bahadur

The inauguration ceremony was attended by Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Farooq Khan; DG Sports Authority of India, Sandeep Pradhan; Principal, High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS), Major General Atul Kaushik; Secretary, Youth Services and Sports, Sarmad Hafeez; DG Youth Services and Sports, Dr Saleem ul Rehman; Deputy Commissioner, Baramulla, Dr Ghulam Nabi Itoo; Secretary, J&K Sports Council, Dr Naseem Javid Choudhary besides other senior officers of civil and police administration.

About Author

Leave A Reply

*