NEW DELHI, Feb 26: Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju on Friday said Srinagar will be made a hub for water sports. He also informed that the Sports Ministry has decided to give a Khelo India academy accreditation to the Mata Vaishnodevi sports complex.
Rijiju made these comments on the sidelines of the launch of the second edition of the Khelo India Winter Games in Gulmarg, Jammu, and Kashmir by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who inaugurated the sports meet virtually.
The Prime Minister delivered the inaugural address of the Games and said that this is a major step towards making Jammu and Kashmir a major hub with India’s effective presence in the Winter Games. He conveyed his best wishes to the players of Jammu and Kashmir and players from all over the country.
Sports Minister Rijiju also informed that two Khelo India State Center of Excellence focusing on the disciplines of Judo, Fencing, and Rowing have been opened.
“We had announced that we will create a state-of-the-art winter sports academy here. Now, we are happy to inform you that all the procedures are in place to get the world standard institute opened here soon,” said Rijiju.
“Out of 100 small Khelo India Centres we had announced across all districts of the valley, 40 are already approved and the remaining 60 will be approved in the next financial year. Ex athletes, coaches can run these centers and give back to sports, while earning a livelihood.”
“We have also opened two Khelo India State Center of Excellence here focusing on the disciplines of Judo, Fencing and Rowing. Srinagar will be made a hub for water sports. Also, we have decided to give a Khelo India academy accreditation to the Mata Vaishnodevi sports complex,” the Sports Minister added.
Rijiju attended the ceremony at Golf Club, Gulmarg along with Manoj Sinha, Lt. Governor, J&K, and a host of other dignitaries.
The annual event, which made its debut last year in Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir, is organised by the Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council and the Winter Games Association of Jammu and Kashmir under the aegis of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
Manoj Joshi thanked the sports department for the smooth conduct of the launch event, and said, “We want to give the message of unity, love, empowerment, and peace through the games in the beautiful valley of Gulmarg.”
The second edition of the Games will see a participation of over 1,375 people, including 932 athletes across 27 States and Union Territories. The participation list of athletes also includes the Indian Army and the Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports. The various sports disciplines include Sprint, Speed Skating, Ice Hockey, Figure Skating, Ice Stock, Giant Slalom, Snow Boarding, Vertical Race, Cross Country, Snowshoe, Long distance running, Ski Mountaineering, Skiing and Nordic Ski.