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The Khelo India School Games will be held across 16 disciplines and 5,000 school children will participate in the event from January 31 to February 8.

Citing the need to highlight the country’s sporting talents and their potentials to the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday inaugurated the Khelo India School Games (KISG) at the events opening ceremony at the Indira Gandhi stadium in New Delhi.

Addressing the gathering at the ceremony – which showcased the ‘Guru-Shishya’ tradition of the country – the Prime Minister said that sports should be placed at the centre of the lives of the country’s youth.

“Sports are important means of personality development and Khelo India is not a programme, it’s a mission. The Games will highlight India’s young sporting talent and showcase India’s sports potential,” said PM Modi.

“Khelo India is not only about winning medals. It is an effort to give strength to a mass movement for playing more. We want to focus on every aspect that would make sports more popular across the nation,” he added.

Further urging the Indian youth to take up sports actively for the better development of the country, Modi said, “When we say India has to grow on the world stage, it does not only mean having a strong army & powerful economy. It includes people of India distinguishing themselves as scientists, artists, and sportspersons. And, I am confident India will scale these heights. I trust our youth.”

“India does not lack sporting talent. We are a youthful nation and we can do even better in sports.” He exhorted youngsters to devote time to sports amid their busy schedules. In your busy schedules, devote time to games, give priority to playing. Today, we have in our midst eminent sportspersons. I am sure they would have faced many obstacles but they did not give up and went on to distinguish themselves,” Modi said, referring to the sports stars and their coaches present on the occasion,” added PM Modi.

Stating that he is glad to see youngsters from rural India and small cities excelling in the field of sports, Modi asserted that the government will give more emphasis on the grass-root level and provide every possible help to talented sportsperson.

“These are also youngsters who need support, which we want to provide. We need to organise games at the school level on consistent basis and keep their records, select the best out of them and train them. We have decided to select 1000 kids every year from different sports and provide them Rs 5 lakh per annum for 8 years,” said Modi.

Further asserting to reward the childhood coaches of eminent sportspersons in the country, he said, “Coaches should be recognised, especially childhood coaches who have unearthed them and helped them grow in their area. So we have decided to reward every coach of a sportsperson who bring laurels for the country.”

In a remarkable development in the sports sector of the country, the Khelo India School Games will be held across 16 disciplines in the Under-17 age category and 5,000 school children from 29 states and seven union territories will participate in the event from January 31 to February 8.

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