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Khelo India: All you need to know about the Youth Games, University Games

The Khelo India Youth Games and University Games promote sports at a grassroots level in India.

3 min By Olympics
KIYG weightlifting
(Picture by Khelo India Youth Games)

Over the past three years, Indian youngsters have had a new platform to showcase their sporting talent - the Khelo India initiative.

Khelo India, which translates to ‘Let’s play India’, was proposed by the government of India in 2017 to revive India’s sporting culture by engaging with children at the grassroots level.

The initiative also focused on building better sporting infrastructure and academies across the country for various sports.

Under this movement, the Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG) and the Khelo India University Games (KIUG) were set up as annual events where youngsters, representing their states and universities, respectively, showcased their skills and competed for medals.

A few big names to compete in these events include ace sprinter Dutee Chand and archers Parth Salunkhe and Komalika Bari.

When were the first Khelo India Games held?

The initiative began with the Khelo India School Games in 2018 held in New Delhi. The big push came after the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) became associated with the initiative later that year and consequently the Khelo India School Games were renamed to the Khelo India Youth Games from 2019. It took place in Pune.

The first Khelo India University Games were hosted in 2020 at the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT), Odisha.

Two editions of the Khelo India Winter Games (KIWG) have been held in Leh, Ladakh and Gulmarg in Kashmir. The first edition of the Khelo India Winter Games were held in 2020

How many sports are played at the Khelo India Games?

The Khelo India Youth Games began in 2018 with 18 sports - athletics, archery, badminton, basketball, boxing, football, gymnastics, hockey, judo, kabaddi, kho kho, wrestling, weightlifting, tennis, table tennis, volleyball, swimming and shooting.

In 2020, when KIYG were held in Guwahati, Assam, it had 20 sports. Five more sports - gatka, kalaripayattu, thang-ta, mallakhamb and yogasana - were added to the programme for the 2021 edition, extending the list to 25.

Competitions in the KIYG are held in the Under-17 and Under-21 categories for both boys and girls.

The inaugural KIUG also had 18 sports - but featured fencing and rugby instead of gymnastics and kho kho from the KIYG programme. The second edition of the Khelo India University Games had 20 sports -- including two indigenous sports, yogasana and mallakhamb -- added to the programme.

For the Khelo India Winter Games, the list of sports include snow baseball, snow ski, mountaineering, ice skating, ice hockey, snow rugby, ice stock and snowshoe running.

Khelo India Youth Games winners list

EditionHost CityWinnerRunner-up
2018New DelhiHaryanaMaharashtra
2019PuneMaharashtraHaryana
2020GuwahatiMaharashtraHaryana
2021PanchkulaHaryanaMaharashtra

Khelo India University Games winners list

EditionHost CityWinnerRunner-up
2020BhubaneshwarPanjab UniversitySavitribai Phule Pune University
2021BengaluruJain UniversityLovely Professional University

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