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Lucknow, May 25 – Lucknow is all set for a magnificent opening ceremony to usher in the third edition of the Khelo India University Games (KIUG) on Thursday, which is now India’s biggest multi-sport competition at the higher education level.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the chief guest for the event, will virtually inaugurate the 10-day sports extravaganza to be organised in UP.
Around 4,900 players from 208 universities of the country will participate in the event, said an official.
Among other dignitaries present on the occasion will be UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Union minister for Youth Affairs, Sports and Information and broadcasting Anurag Thakur, Minister of State (Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports) Nishith Pramanik and Minister of State (Independent charge), Sports and Youth Welfare, government of UP, Girish Chandra Yadav.
The 70-minute ceremony will begin at the BBD University Cricket ground at 6.50 p.m., with an Army band playing the National Anthem.
The programme, besides addresses by dignitaries, will be interspersed with songs, thematic performances and lighting of the Games torch by a famous sports personality of the state, fireworks display etc.
Games mascot ‘Jeetu’, inspired by Barasingha, the state animal of UP, will also be an integral part of the celebrations. The function will conclude with a special performance by renowned singer Kailash Kher.
More than five lakh people participated in the torch rally in Uttar Pradesh that was flagged off by the Chief Minister on May 5. Cultural events, yoga sessions and awareness about sports marked these rallies across the state.
“It is a red-letter day for sports in UP and we are all eagerly looking forward to the event, which has been meticulously planned under the visionary guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Yogi Adityanath,” said Navneet Sehgal, additional chief secretary, sports and youth welfare, Government of UP.
“It will be a world-class ceremony showcasing the rich cultural traditions of the state blending with its current rapid progress towards growth and modernity. We are confident that the entire state will join us in some way to ensure the success of the event, which will herald a revolution for sports and sportspersons in the region,” he added.
The competitions will conclude on June 3 with the closing ceremony planned in Varanasi. Four cities of UP – Lucknow, Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Noida – will play host to various sports events with Delhi’s Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range hosting the shooting competition.
The rowing competition, to be held at Ramgarh Taal in Gorakhpur, will also ensure the debut of water sports in this edition of the KIUG. A total 1,900 medals will be at stake (600 gold, 600 silver and 700 bronze).
Prominent national level athletes, who will be seen in action in this edition of the KIUG, are the likes of Manu Bhaker, Hriday Hazarika, Mehuli Ghosh, Arjun Babuta and Sift Kaur Samra in shooting; Diya Chitale and Ananya Basak in table tennis; SK Sahil in football; Aneesh Gowda in swimming; Malvika Bansod in badminton; Kabir Hans in tennis; Yash Ghangas in judo and Anshu Malik and Sagar Jaglan in wrestling, among others.