Karnataka to host 2021 Khelo India University Games

With the inclusion of indigenous sports, over 4,000 athletes are expected to participate in the second Khelo India University Games.

By Naveen Peter
Picture by Copyright:Thanat "ISHQ" Rungrattanakjon

Karnataka will host the second edition of the Khelo India University Games, the Union sports ministry announced on Sunday.

While the majority of the events will be held at the Jain University campus in Bengaluru, the Games will be spread across various venues in the state.

The Khelo India University Games, the first of its kind in India, is an initiative by the sports ministry to identify talented athletes at the university level and develop them.

The inaugural edition, which was held at the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) campus in Bhubaneswar, saw over 3,182 athletes from 158 universities participate.

Indian internationals Dutee Chand (athletics), Srihari Nataraj (swimming) and Vahbiz Bharucha (rugby) were some of the big names to compete at the Bhubaneswar event last year. Dutee Chand had set a university record in the 100m with 11.49 seconds.

Expecting the Bengaluru edition to be bigger and better, sports minister Kiren Rijiju said: “The University Games in Odisha last year were a massive success. Countries that have great sporting performance have often drawn their sporting heroes from university-level athletes.

“In the US for instance, the University Games are the bedrock of Olympic champions. In India, we need a sustained, focussed plan to identify talent from Universities and I am happy that we have been able to do that with KIUG.”

Meanwhile, the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) has confirmed the inter-university meets for the 2021 season will be a part of the Khelo India Games.

The 2021 edition will see a total of 19 sporting disciplines, two more than the previous year, and will be played at the U-25 age category in accordance with the World University Games norms. Over 4,000 athletes are expected to participate.

Yogasana and mallakhamb are the latest additions to the list of sporting events at the University Games. Other sporting disciplines at the Khelo India University Games include archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, fencing, football, hockey, judo, kabaddi, rugby, swimming, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, weightlifting and wrestling.

Panjab University won the inaugural edition last year, edging out Savitribai Phule Pune University on the final day.

Lead photo: Khelo India University Games