Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG), formerly known as Khelo India School Games (KISG), is a pan-Indian multi-disciplinary sports competition for the country’s youngsters.
Here’s a summary of the Indian government’s flagship programme:
When was it inaugurated?
On January 21, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, unveiled the first edition of the KIYG at the Indira Gandhi Arena in New Delhi.
Later in February 2020, Modi launched the first-ever Khelo India University Games in the city of Cuttack in Odisha.
Why was Khelo India started?
The KIYG was meant to unearth exciting talents from the grassroots with a long-term vision to make India a strong contender at the Olympic level and become a sports super-power. The aim has been to harness the tremendous potential of the country in the field of sports, inspire young talent, give them top-notch infrastructure and train them at the highest level so that they can bring laurels to the country.
It also aims to revive the sports culture in the country and establish a strong framework for all sports.
“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,” stated the Prime Minister in his inaugural address.
The 12 guiding principles of Khelo India
To accomplish the above objectives Khelo India has identified 12 sectors on which it strives to work on. They are as follows:
- Playing field development
- Community coaching development
- Build state-level Khelo India centres
- Organise annual sports competition
- To search and develop talent
- To create, upgrade and utilize sports infrastructure
- To provide support to national/regional/state academics
- To increase the physical fitness of school children
- To involve more women in sports
- To promote sports amongst para-athletes
- Use sports as a tool for peace and development
- To promote rural and indigenous tribal games.
Categories and sports disciplines
In the Khelo India Youth Games, there are two categories: U17 and U21. Whereas in University Games, athletes from universities across India can take part.
Every year in January or February, the Khelo India programme is held. The inaugural edition had participants competing in 16 sports – Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Football, Gymnastics, Hockey, Judo, Kabaddi, Kho-Kho, Shooting, Swimming, Volleyball, Weightlifting, and Wrestling.
Subsequently, in December 2020, four indigenous sports were added – Gatka, Kalaripayattu, Thang-Ta and Mallakhamba. Whereas in 2021 Yogasana was also added as a sporting discipline.
In individual sports, the top eight participants from the School Games Federation of India’s National School Games, four nominations from the federation, one from Central Board of Secondary Education, one from the host State and two wild card entries get the nod to try their luck in the finals.
However, in certain sports like archery, badminton and shooting the top 16 from the National School Games, eight nominations by the federation, one from CBSE, one from host State, one from the organising committee, and six from wild cards will be selected.
Whereas, in team sports, the top four from the National School Games, two nominations by the federation, one from the host State and one from the organising committee will be selected. 18,744 athletes have participated to date in Khelo India.
Budget & Scholarship
The Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman allocated Rs 657.71 core for Khelo India for the financial year 2021-22.
Each sport has a dedicated talent hunt committee, who are liable to identify two sportspersons from each sport and they will be given an annual scholarship of Rs 500,000 for eight years.
Khelo India 2021
The Khelo India Games 2021 will be organised in Panchkula, Haryana after the Tokyo Olympics. Therefore it will shift from its traditional January-February window.
“Haryana already has a very strong sporting culture and has given the country some of its best athletes. I am sure that with the Games being hosted in the state, more and more aspiring athletes from Haryana will be motivated to take up a competitive sport,” sports minister Kiren Rijiju stated while making the announcement.
Whereas, the University Games will be held in Karnataka.
Most successful states in Khelo India
In the first edition of the Khelo India Games held in New Delhi, Haryana topped the medal tally with 38 gold, 26 silver and 38 bronze. Maharashtra came second with 36 gold, 32 silver and 43 bronze medals. Whereas, Delhi finished third with 25 gold, 29 silver and 40 bronze.
In 2019, the games were held in Pune and this time Maharashtra came on top with 228 medals including 85 gold, 62 silver and 81 bronze. Haryana and Delhi came second and third respectively with 178 and 136 medals.
Maharashtra continued their dominance in the third edition of the Games as well that was held in Guwahati. They smashed their own record and won 256 medals, comprising 78 gold, 77 silver and 101 bronze. Haryana and Delhi continued to be in the second and third positions with 200 and 122 medals respectively.
Meanwhile, in the University Games, Panjab University finished at the top of the medal tally with 17 gold, 19 silver and 10 bronze. Savitribai Phule Pune University came second winning 37 medals and Punjabi University stood third with 33.