Bhubaneswar: The first-ever Khelo India University Games would take off in Odisha with a mega launch event at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Cuttack on Saturday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi would inaugurate the multi-disciplinary sporting event through videoconferencing while it would be attended by several dignitaries and sportspersons, including Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports Kiren Rijiju at the stadium.
Over 3400 athletes from 159 universities across the country have been given entries in 17 disciplines, including rugby which is among the six team events.
The Khelo India University Games, in the time to come, would become an important rung in the ladder that the country’s student athletes seek to climb.
Ace sprinter Dutee Chand, a student of the KIIT, the host university, is excited to be part of the event. She said, “I will need to compete in some quality events and, for some reason or the other, that has not happened,” she said, returning to her intense workout at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar.
There are other talented athletes like Mangalore University triple jumper Jay Shah, his team-mate long distance runner Narendra Pratap Singh, Pune University long distance runner Komal Jagdale and Acharya Nagarjuna University sprinter Yarraji Jyothi who can lift the quality of competition in track and field sports.
The event’s 17 sports are archery, athletics, boxing, fencing, judo, swimming, weightlifting, wrestling, badminton, basketball, football, hockey, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, rugby and kabaddi.