THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:The skies of Thiruvananthapuram might have never witnessed the kind of spectacle that it had when Union Minister for Urban Affairs M Venkaiah Naidu declared the 35th National Games open on Saturday night.
Declaring the National Games open, Venkiah Naidu said that the Union Government would provide all support to the sports development in the country. Off to a colourful start with fireworks setting the stage for the gala event and rhythmic percussion ensemble, the National Games turned out to be an event of true celebrations of sports in the country.
Congratulating the State Government and Indian Olympic Association for constructing a magnificent stadium like the Thiruvananthapuram International Greenfield Stadium, Naidu said that everysportsperson who attended the inaugural ceremony would cherish the memories.
He said that the stadium would be unique in the country and remain as a pride of the state. He congratulated the government for completing the stadium in just 700 days. Saluting the audience for displaying such a unique discipline, he said that it was natural for Kerala to continue its supremacy in the field of sports. Referring to the great achievement in producing legendary sportspersons such as T C Yohannan, Suresh Babu, P T Usha, Shiny Wilson and Anju Bobby George, Naidu said that he was confident that thestate would maintain the greatrecord.
He said as in other sectors, the country was witnessing a climate change in sports, lifestyle and every aspects of life. “Our educational system is going to have a radical change under the visionary Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Sportseducation in the country is going to play even important roles. To promote sports education, sports icon Sachin Tendulkar has been asked to promote sports among the youth of the nation,” he said.
Naidu said that it was important to shift to sports as a lifestyle as the countrywas witnessing widespread diseases. “Our country is becoming the diabetes capital of the world,” he pointed out. He said that the Centre and state would work together to build a team India.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, welcoming the dignitaries and sportspersons, saidthat the state also would come out with a package for sports development. Speaking on the occasion, a proud Sports Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said that the opening ceremony of the 35th National Games was the proudest moment for any Keralite. Indian Olympic Association president N Ramachandran, who presided over the function, said that the National Games would be an occasion for close to 10,000 athletes and officials to come together.
He hoped that the Games would provide a platform for best talents to compete in 2016 Olympics. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Ministers Ramesh Chennithala, K M Mani, P KKunhalikutty, K Babu, P K Abdu Rabb, Shibu Baby John, Adoor Prakash, Anoop Jacob, K C Joseph, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurian, Shashi Tharoor MP, Mayor K Chandrika were present on the occasion.
Amidst the glitter and glory, Venkaiah Naidu declared the Games open, a contingentof Olympians from Kerala led by K M Beenamol handed over the National Games torch to Sachin Tendulkar. Olympians P T Usha and Anju Bobby George received the torch from Sachin.