Uttar Pradesh has become a ‘sangam’ of sportspersons from across the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday after inaugurating the Khelo India University Games. Addressing the inaugural event virtually, Modi said the Commonwealth Games scam demonstrated the approach of the previous government towards sports. The scam had surfaced during the tenure of the Congress-led UPA II government in 2010.
”Earlier no attention was paid to the development of sports. It was considered that sports is a means only to spend spare time. But today, I am happy that the perception of society and parents has changed in the country,” the prime minister said.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur were among those present at the event.
This year, the Khelo India University Games are being held from May 25 to June 3 in Uttar Pradesh. Over 4,750 athletes from more than 200 universities will be competing in 21 sports. The competitions will be organised in Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Lucknow and Gautam Buddha Nagar.
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The university games are part of various schemes launched by the government to support budding sportspersons and efforts have been put in to strengthen the sports ecosystem in the country.
The mascot of the games is named ‘Jitu’, which represents Swamp Deer (Barasingha) – the state animal of Uttar Pradesh. The closing ceremony of the games will be held in Varanasi on June 3.