New Delhi:HN/ Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday marked the inauguration of the 37th National Games at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Margao, Goa, with an address brimming with optimism for India’s sporting future.
Prime Minister Modi, in his speech, articulated a vision of India’s ascent as a major economic power by 2036, accompanied by a burgeoning middle class. He expressed his belief that India’s flag would extend its presence from space to the sporting arena. “That’s why the Olympics will also become easier for us by then,” he added.
Highlighting the wealth of sports talent within India, PM Modi asserted, “There is no shortage of sports talent in India; the country has produced many champions.” He took pride in the achievements of Indian athletes on the global stage, news agency ANI quoted him as saying.
PM Modi acknowledged the significance of hosting the National Games during a time when Indian athletes are making history on the global stage. He highlighted the remarkable increase in the sports budget, which has tripled in the last nine years, demonstrating the government’s commitment to the development of sports in the country.
“We have brought about changes in schemes to provide financial incentives to sportspersons,” PM Modi stated. He emphasized that post-2014, the government has taken several initiatives to enhance the country’s sports infrastructure, improve the athlete selection process, and introduce financial schemes to support athletes.
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Anurag Singh Thakur, Goa Sports Minister Govind Gaude and Minister of State for Tourism Shripad Naik were present on the occasion.
“Under the leadership of the prime minister, the sports culture in the country has undergone a sea change. With the help of continuous government support, the performance of athletes has witnessed tremendous improvement at the international level,” a government release earlier said.
Goa will host the National Games for the first time. The 37th National Games will be held from October 26 to November 9. More than 10,000 athletes will take part in over 43 sports disciplines across 28 venues.
Notably, 49 percent of the total athletes are women.
The sports events will be held in five cities of Mapusa, Margao, Panjim, Ponda and Vasco in Goa. However, golf and cycling events will be held in New Delhi.
The 37th National Games will feature several sports disciplines and some them will be making their medal debut. These include beach football, roll ball, golf; different forms of martial arts sepak takraw, sqay martial arts, Kalaripayattu and pencak silat. Various other sports such as Kho, yogasana and mallakhamb will also mark their debut in the National Games this year.
The event has also feature demonstration sports like lagori and gatka.
Taekwondo and yachting games, that were excluded in the previous edition, will mark their return this year.
Gymnastics, rowing, hockey, shooting, lawn tennis, table tennis, boxing, shooting, water polo, snooker, judo and handball are among other sports that will feature in the 37th edition of the National Games. High News !