The 2021 Khelo India Youth Games will be held in Panchkula, Haryana, the Indian union sports minister Kiren Rijiju announced on Saturday.
The Khelo India Youth Games will be held after the Tokyo Olympics, which will end on August 8. The KIYG will thus move away from its January window.
“The Games have been instrumental in identifying grassroots level talent from across the country, who have represented India in international sporting events,” said Kiren Rijiju in an online media briefing.
The Khelo India Youth Games, which began in 2018, have been one of the much-awaited events in the domestic calendar with over 10,000 athletes participating in the previous edition in Guwahati.
With Haryana boasting of rich sporting history, the sports minister believed that handing the Khelo India Youth Games to the state was a step in the right direction.
“Haryana already has a very strong sporting culture and has given the country some of its best athletes.
“I am sure that with the Games being hosted in the state, more and more aspiring athletes from Haryana will be motivated to take up a competitive sport,” he hoped.
Haryana a ‘leader in sports’
Meanwhile, for the former Indian hockey team skipper Sandeep Singh, Haryana hosting the Khelo India Youth Games was an apt recognition for the state’s contribution to Indian sports.
“Haryana has always been a leader in sports. If you are to take any international event like the Olympics or the Asian Games or the Commonwealth Games, the number of athletes from Haryana winning medals for the country has always been high,” said Sandeep Singh, who is now Haryana’s sports minister.
“But whenever it has come to hosting a sporting event, we would barely get an opportunity. But I am happy that that's changed now.”
Haryana has been one of the most prominent teams at the Khelo India Youth Games, having won the inaugural edition in 2018. They were second behind Maharashtra earlier this year with 200 medals to their tally.