NEW DELHI: The fourth edition of the Khelo India Youth Games is set to be held in Panchkula, Haryana in 2021. This was announced by sports minister Kiren Rijiju via video conference on Saturday. The event is scheduled to be held after the Tokyo Olympics from July 23-August 8.
Interestingly, the last Khelo India Youth Games was held in Guwahati earlier this year. The coronavirus pandemic put paid to the Sports Ministry’s plans of conducting the meet this year. The new dates will be revealed after the Olympics. “Usually the Khelo India Youth Games take place in January every year. However, this time owing to the pandemic, we are having to postpone it.
However, I am sure by the time we host the Games the pandemic will abate and we will be able to host the Games at the same scale, with participation of all states and over 10,000 participants,” Rijiju said.
The minister also added that prior to the lockdown, a comprehensive calendar was created but had to be dropped due to the pandemic. However, a decision on the Khelo India University Games has not been taken.
The postponement of the KIYG would affect the selection of athletes to be inducted into the Khelo India academy as well as their monetary compensation. A portion of the annual intake into the academy is done via the Games and that will be delayed this year but sources in the ministry are hopeful of finishing the process in 2021 itself.
“The usual time period taken for performance review is around three months post completion. Our initial plan was to induct athletes by 2021 and while a delay is inevitable, we hope to complete it before the year-end,” sources in the ministry said.
Speaking about Haryana hosting the next edition, Minister Rijiju said, “I am very happy to announce Haryana as the host state. The Games has been instrumental in identifying grassroot level talent from across the country. 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 competitive sport.”
The announcement was made in the presence of Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar, Sandeep Singh, Haryana sports minister, sports secretary Ravi Mittal and SAI DG Sandip Pradhan.
Due to the prevailing uncertainty, no fixed calendar for the other Khelo India verticals has been decided. The last edition of the Khelo India University Games was held in Bhubaneswar in February this year. A call on when and where the next edition will take place will be taken post the Youth Games.
“As of now no decision has been taken on it. We will get a clearer picture post the KIYG hopefully,” sources indicated.