Bhubaneswar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will declare open the first-ever Khelo India University Games in Odisha on Saturday through video conferencing.
The multi-disciplinary sporting event will commence with a mega launch at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Cuttack.
The event will be attended by several dignitaries and sportspersons, including Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
As many as 3,400 athletes from 159 universities across the country will participate in 17 disciplines including rugby which is among the six-team events, said an official.
A number of them are looking at the Khelo India University Games to make a mark not only for their institutions and themselves but also to catch the eye of talent scouts.
In the time to come, it would become an important rung in the ladder that the country’s student-athletes seek to climb.
The attempt is to make the Khelo India University Games an aspirational competition for India’s youngsters with twin objectives of helping them find the balance between sport and education.
The sports disciplines will include archery, athletics, boxing, fencing, judo, swimming, weightlifting, wrestling, badminton, basketball, football, hockey, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, rugby, and kabaddi.
World University Games champion Dutee Chand will resume her quest for the Olympics Games qualifying standard at the inaugural Khelo India University Games that begins here on Saturday.
“Yes, I will sprint for my University (Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology) next week,” she confirmed.
With 191 and 183 athletes
respectively, Panjab University (Chandigarh) and Guru Nanak Dev University
(Amritsar) will have the largest contingents.