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Khelo India Games: A guide to everything about Khelo India University, Youth, and Winter Games

Khelo India is a National Programme for the Development of Sports which represents a significant effort to enhance the sporting culture in India, starting from the grassroots level. This initiative was set in motion in the fiscal year 2017-18 under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with Sports Ministers Vijay Goel and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore at the helm. The main objective of Khelo India is to unearth and cultivate promising talents through talent spotting, organization of sports competitions, and giving a boost to the sports infrastructure.

Presently, the Games are being organized in three categories – The Khelo India Youth Games, the Khelo India University Games, and the Khelo India Winter Games. In a recent development reflecting the government’s growing commitment to sports, the budget allocation for Khelo India has seen a substantial increase. The National Programme for Development of Sports’ funding has been raised by over 65%, from Rs 600 crore in the Financial Year 2022-23 to an impressive Rs 1,000 crore in the Financial Year 2023-24. 

Khelo India Youth Games (formerly known as Khelo India School Games)

The Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG), previously known as the Khelo India School Games (KISG), represent an annual, nationwide, multi-disciplinary sporting event for promoting grassroots talent, especially the youth, in India. These games take place every year and focus on two primary age groups – under-17 school students and under-21 college students. The initiative takes a significant step towards nurturing promising athletes by providing an annual scholarship of INR 5 lakhs (approximately USD 6,300) to the top 1,000 participants for eight years.

The inaugural edition of the games were launched by India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on January 31, 2018. The opening ceremony took place at the Indira Gandhi Arena in New Delhi and was themed around the age-old Guru-shishya tradition. In a significant development, the Indian Olympic Association joined the initiative in September 2018. This led to the rebranding of the event as the Khelo India Youth Games, starting from the 2019 edition. The latest and fifth edition of the games took place in Bhopal from January 30 to February 11, which marked the debut of Kayaking and Canoeing as part of the competition’s sporting disciplines.

EditionHost (Year)Date (Start – End)SportsWinner
IDelhi (2018)Jan 31, 2018 – Feb 8, 201816Haryana
IIPune, Maharashtra (2019)Jan 9, 2019 – Jan 20, 201918Maharashtra
IIIGuwahati, Assam (2020)Jan 10, 2020 – Jan 22, 202020Maharashtra
IVPanchkula, Haryana (2021)Jun 4, 2022 – Jun 13, 202225Haryana
VBhopal, Madhya Pradesh (2022)Jan 30, 2023 – Feb 11, 202327Maharashtra

Khelo India University Games

After the success of the Khelo India Youth Games, the Khelo India University Games was implemented, keeping the central focus as discovering and nurturing talented athletes aged between 18 and 25 years. This event is specifically designed to spot potential sports stars who can represent India at prestigious international competitions such as the Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, etc. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, officially inaugurated the inaugural edition of the Khelo India University Games on February 22, 2020, in Cuttack. The Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology in Odisha hosted this multi-sport event. In this first edition, Panjab University, Chandigarh, came out on top, winning 46 medals in total.

However, the global health crisis resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic led to a delay in the second edition of the games. Initially scheduled for 2021, these games were ultimately pushed back to 2022. Jain University, located in Karnataka, was chosen as the host for this delayed second edition. The host university not only oversaw the successful running of the event but also emerged as the overall champions. The third edition of the Khelo India University Games is slated for May 25 to June 3, 2023, with Uttar Pradesh being the chosen host state.

EditionHost (Year)Date (Start – End)SportsWinner
IKalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Odisha (2020)Feb 22, 2020 – Mar 1, 202017Panjab University, Chandigarh
IISchool Of Engineering and Technology – Jain University, Karnataka (2022)Apr 24, 2022 – May 3, 202220Jain University, Karnataka

Khelo India Winter Games

In the wake of the successful organization of several editions of the Youth Games, a decision was made to introduce the Khelo India Winter Games. These games, held at the national level, have various disciplines in the winter sports category to develop a platform to nurture grassroots talents. The inaugural edition of the games took place in 2020. Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju, was the one who inaugurated the event.

For the second edition, the opening ceremony was conducted virtually owing to the ongoing pandemic, with none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi doing the honors of inaugurating the games. To date, a total of three Khelo India Winter Games have been held, and each time, Jammu and Kashmir has claimed the top spot, showcasing their prowess in winter sports.

EditionHost (Year)Date (Start – End)SportsGold Medal Winner
ILeh, Gulmarg (2020)Feb 25, 2020 – Mar 11, 202017Jammu and Kashmir
IILeh, Gulmarg (2021)Feb 26, 2021 – Mar 2, 202114Jammu and Kashmir
IIIGulmarg (2023)Feb 10, 2023 – Feb 14, 202311Jammu and Kashmir

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