New Delhi [India], Jan 31 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while inaugurating the first Khelo India School Games here at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium on Wednesday, said that the initiative is not only about winning medals, but also an effort to give strength to a mass movement for playing more.
Addressing the gathering at the launch of the inaugural event of Khelo India School Games, Prime Minister Modi said that sports are a significant means of personal development and that it should occupy a central place in the lives of the youth.
"Khelo India is not only about winning medals, he said. It is an effort to give strength to a mass movement for playing more, he explained. We want to focus on every aspect that would make sports more popular across the nation", Prime Minister Modi said.
"Sports should occupy a central place in the lives of our youth. Sports is an important means of personality development. In your busy schedules, devote time to games...give priority to playing. Today we have in our midst eminent sportspersons. I am sure they would have faced many obstacles but they did not give up and went on to distinguish themselves", he added.
Prime Minister Modi further said it is gladdening to see youngsters from rural India and smaller cities excelling as sportspersons, adding that the Government of India wants to provide support to such youngsters.
"Those who love sports play for passion, not for monetary rewards. This is why athletes are special. When an Indian sportsperson wins and when he or she gets to hold the Tricolour, it is an extremely special feeling and it energises the entire nation", Prime Minister Modi added.
In keeping with Prime Minister Modi's vision, Khelo India is expected to help scout young talent from the schools in various disciplines and groom them as future sports champions.
Talented players identified in priority sports disciplines at various levels will be provided annual financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh per annum for eight years.
The 'Khelo India' programme, was initially launched by former Sports Minister Vijay Goel but was later revamped by his successor Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sport, Col. (Retired) Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.
Over the coming nine days, Under-17 players will vie for 199 gold medals, 199 silver medals and 275 bronze medals in across 16 disciplines: Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Football, Gymnastics, Hockey, Judo, Kabaddi, Kho-Kho, Shooting, Swimming, Volleyball, Weightlifting, and Wrestling.
The school games will be held at multiple venues in Delhi. The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex are among the venues where the games will be held.
The inaugural games, beginning today, will conclude on February 8. (ANI)