It is because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision, Khelo India has become a movement: Anurag Thakur -
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It is because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision, Khelo India has become a movement: Anurag Thakur

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  • Union Sports Minister launches Khelo India Para Games, Mascot Ujjwala, Anthem, Jersey and Logo
  • Eminent athletes and Para athletes laud government’s efforts to create inclusive sports eco system

Rakesh Thapliyal 

New Delhi:The Zoravar auditorium of Maneckshaw centre was full of sporting energy and enthusiasm on Sunday afternoon, as hundreds of past and present athletes,  Paralympics medal winners, coaches, sports officials, were present at the launch of first-ever Khelo India Para Games 2023 Logo, Anthem, Jersey and mascot Ujjwala.

They waited with patience for one hour for the arrival of Chief Guest Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports. Shri Thakur launched the Logo, Anthem, Jersey and Mascot and in a true sportsman spirit apologised for coming late. “I am sorry for coming late, I have gone in a college and told that it will take half an hour to reach here but it took one hour,” he said.

Shri Thakur was delighted to see that auditorium is full of athletes, even some of them standing and watching the event.

The presence of star Para athletes like Pramod Bhagat, Bhavina Patel, Avani Lekhara, Sumit Antil added to the special occasion.

Former Indian Women’s Hockey Team Captain Rani Rampal, Indian freestyle wrestler and Olympics bronze medallist, Yogeshwar Dutt, Indian  wrestler Sarita Mor, former Indian boxer Akhil Kumar, former shooter Samresh Jung and Mr. Sandip Pradhan, DG, SAI were also present.

Ms Ekta Vishnoi, DDG, SAI,  welcomed Shri Anurag Thakur.

‘Ujjwala’- a sparrow, was unveiled as the official mascot of Khelo India – Para Games 2023. The little sparrow is a symbol of the pride of Delhi and its uniqueness portrays determination and empathy. Ujjwala, as the mascot of Khelo India – Para Games 2023, is a reminder that strength comes in many forms and the human spirit is unbreakable.

There is nothing new in the Jersey, it’s same old Khelo India Jersey used for all games.

Reflecting on the  Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of an inclusive sports eco system, Shri Anurag Thakur said, “On the occasion of the launch of the inaugural edition of the first-ever Khelo India Para Games, I would like to congratulate everyone. It is because of our Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision, that Khelo India has become a household name. It has become a movement from a scheme and Khelo India was missing the Para Games for the last few years. From 2018 till date, we have had 11 Khelo India Games, we are delighted to add Para Games this year.”

“Also, for the last four years, the budget for Khelo India was Rs 3,000 crores sanctioned by the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi and  for the next five years, it has been increased to Rs 3300 crores,” he added.

Since 2018, a total of 11 Khelo India Games have been successfully held. This includes 5 Khelo India Youth Games, 3 Khelo India University Games and 3 Khelo India Winter Games. Thakur expressed that these Games have been instrumental in identifying talent across the country and has aided in India’s performance at the prestigious multi-discipline events. Now, with the first-ever Khelo India Para Games, talented para athletes keen on pursuing a career in para sports can be identified and further assisted in bringing desirable results for the country.

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Indian freestyle wrestler and Olympian bronze medallist, Yogeshwar Dutt said, “It is great to see the Government of India coming up with such a wonderful initiative. I am looking forward to see all these athletes in action. I would like to wish all the players participating in Khelo India Para Games best of luck.”
Sharing his excitement post the unveiled event of Khelo India Para Games, Para Athlete Pramod Bhagat, who won a gold medal at the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Para-badminton, said, “I believe that the Para Games currently have a very promising future, particularly for young people and para athletes. Also, for the coaches who would be able to use their training to boost efforts on enhancing athletic talents and preparing them for India to witness increased participation in national and international tournaments beginning with the Khelo Para Games. It is one of the most significant initiatives launched by Khelo India.”

Over 1400 participants from across 32 states and union territories including Services Sports Control Board are expected to participate in the maiden Khelo India Para Games which will witness para athletes vie for honours in 7 disciplines including para athletics, para shooting, para archery, para football, para badminton, para table tennis and para weight lifting. The events will be held across 3 SAI stadiums – the IG Stadium, Shooting Range in Tughlaqabad and the JLN Stadium.

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