The curtains came down on a successful Khelo India Youth Games 2021 at the Indradhanush Stadium in Haryana on Monday. Hosts Haryana topped the table with a total of 137 medals (52 gold) followed by Maharashtra (125 medals; 45 gold) and Karnataka (67 medals; 22 gold).
Present at the closing ceremony were Bandaru Dattatreya, Hon’ble Governor of Haryana, Manohar Lal , Chief Minister of Haryana, Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Nisith Pramanik, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports and other prominent dignitaries from Haryana, including State Sports Minister Sandeep Singh.
There was also a special message from the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi on the occasion: “Over the years, talented sportspersons of the country have made themselves, their families and the entire country proud with their performances in various sports on different platforms. The talent and performance of all these players is a reflection of the ever-increasing potential of 21st century India on the world stage.
“Today the hopes and aspirations of the young players of the country are forming the basis of decisions and policies. Promotion of sports in new education policy emphasises on building modern sports infrastructure. The synergy of modern technology is creating a rich sports culture in India today. From the identification, selection and training of talent in the field of sports to the sporting needs of the players, the government is with the country’s talented youth at every step.
“Young players from all corners of the country participated in this edition of Khelo India and reinforced the spirit of Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat. It is our wish that our youth keep raising the honor and respect of the country while giving flight to their spirits in the playground.”
Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, on the occasion, also gave out his congratulations to all who participated. “There have been 12 new national records and I put forward my hearty congratulations to all of the athletes,” mentioned Thakur. “The duel has always been between Haryana and Maharashtra in all editions of the Khelo India Youth Games and this time too it wasn’t different. I congratulate Haryana for taking the top honours again. Haryana has continued its dominance as the sporting superpower State of India.
“The presence of scouts from the Pro Kabaddi was a welcome addition at the Youth Games,” Thakur added. “These scouts were present in every single match to scoop out the potential hidden gems and give them proper international exposure. The next generation of kabaddi players will be emerging from the games.”
The Hon’ble Minister also mentioned about some inspirational events and stories that came out from the games, like 17 weightlifters from the KIYG 2021 have been selected to represent India at the upcoming Asian Youth and Junior Championship 2022, scheduled in Tashkent from July 15 to 26.
Karnataka swimmer Aneesh Gowda finished as the highest medalist from the games, finishing with a total of 6 gold medals. Maharashtra duo Apeksha Fernandes (Swimming) and Sanyukta Kale (Rhythmic Gymnastics) finished with 5 gold medals each.
Hoping to see the Khelo India events take place again in a few months’ time, Thakur added, “We really want the Khelo India Youth Games and the University Games to take place again between November and March so that the athletes get a chance again to showcase their talent.”