Khelo India Youth Games: Unlocking the hidden potential of India's youngsters
In a bid to hunt sporting talent in India at the grassroots level, the Khelo India Youth Games began in 2018 with 18 sports. In 2023, as the fifth edition of the games kick off in Madhya Pradesh, the event now features 27 different sports including sports like Kayaking, Canoeing and Fencing, which have been introduced to the games for the first time.
Who can participate in Khelo India Youth Games?
There are two different categories a candidate can participate in the Khelo India Youth Games. But before that, he or she has to be a citizen of India and must be studying in a school or college to take part in the games.
As for the categories, the "Under-17" category allows those below the age of 17 to participate, while the "Under-21" category is for applicants below the age of 21.
These games, usually held in the months of January or February, sees youngsters from various Indian states compete as they showcase their talent on a grand scale. Every year, 1,000 of the best participants at the event are awarded an annual scholarship of Rs 5 Lakh for 8 years, to help them prepare for global sporting events.
A grassroots approach to broaden India's sporting ecosystem
The Khelo India Youth Games are conducted to establish a robust framework for all Indian sports at the grassroot level. Be it popular games like hockey or the less-followed ones like basketball, the KIYG is an attempt to bring top talent in each of these sports to the fore.
Apart from the annual competition, the Khelo India National Programme also includes sports infrastructure development and organized identification of talent.
Furthermore, the games have an emphasis of promoting mass participation, providing a platform to shine for students from all walks of life, irrespective of their gender, social status, financial situation, and other factors.
Khelo India Games: Who's taken the trophy home?
Four editions of the Khelo India Youth Games have already been conducted while the fifth commenced in Madhya Pradesh on Jan 30. Out of the four previous editions, Maharashtra and Haryana have won two each while being runner-ups in the two that they've failed to clinch. So, Maharashtra and Haryana have been the top two teams at the games for four years running!
We believe it's fair to say that we'd love to see a podium shuffle in the Khelo India Youth Games 2023 with a new team taking home the trophy. And who's going to come out victorious in sports like Kayaking and Fencing that are making a debut in this year's edition? Only time will tell.
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