Khelo India: Redefining sports in India

Bridges of Sports is working with tribal and rural children to provide them access to learn, play and excel in sports

In May 2018, Twitter was flooded with tweets with #humfittoindiafit and #fitnesschallenge. Indian celebrities from all fields posted videos of themselves showing how they kept themselves healthy and fit. The Hum Fit to India Fit campaign was started by sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. He launched a fitness drive on social media urging people to share their pictures and videos on how to keep themselves fit. He even asked them to throw a fitness challenge to their friends. Indian celebrities from all fields, including Bollywood actors Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone and director Karan Johar, sportspersons Saina Nehwal and Virendra Sehwag, business tycoon Anand Mahindra participated actively in this campaign.
The Hum Fit to India Fit campaign is essentially a part of another major initiative, Khelo India. This programme was introduced by the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs to revive sports culture in India at the grassroots level. Through this programme, the government aims to build a strong framework for all different kinds of sports played in the country.

The Khelo India website says
“Sports is an extremely important component for the overall development of our nation. India, in the last few years, has made steady progress in the field of sports. This tremendous potential needs to be showcased at a global platform. It’s time we inspire young talent, give them top-notch infrastructure and training of the highest level. We need to inculcate a strong spirit of participation in sports that enables players to demonstrate their true potential. Only then can India realize it’s dream of becoming a sports superpower. “

The government is working actively to promote sports and fitness through sports in all institutes.
The Khelo India initiative is a major step forward in that direction and promises to take the nation further towards its sporting dream. The Khelo India programme also aims to identify talented players in priority sports disciplines at various levels by a High-Powered Committee. These players will be provided annual financial assistance of INR 5 lakh per annum for eight years.

 

To achieve the desired objectives, the Khelo India programme has been divided into 12 verticals

The Khelo India School Games is another initiative under the Khelo India programme. It is a part of the revamped National Programme for development of sports. It aims at strengthening the ecosystem by promoting the twin objectives of mass participation and promotion of excellence in sports. The Khelo India School Games will act as an avenue for the identification of budding sports talent in specific disciplines.
The first edition of Khelo India School Games was held from January 31 to February 8, 2018, at multiple venues across Delhi.

After the successful inaugural edition of Khelo India School Games, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports kick-started the countdown to Khelo India Youth Games. The ministry along with Star Sports appealed to encourage India to play more with the evocative #5MinuteAur campaign. The campaign urges the children of the nation to play for five more minutes with the aim to spark a fire in every enthusiast in India. The ministry believes that if each child plays a little bit longer, we will add a billion minutes of play every day that has the potential to translate into 50 medals for the country.

“The success of Khelo India School Games is a testimony to the hunger and multitude of sporting talent in India. Buoyed by the terrific response for Khelo India School Games and with an aim to increase participation in sports across all age groups, we have not just added two sports this year but have also increased the age limit to allow even more enthusiasts to participate and flourish. The #5MinuteAur campaign is a reflection of the immense strides we have made and the journey that lies in front of us to make India a truly sporting nation. We hope it will inspire India to work towards incorporating sports as a way of life”, said Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs.

To support this initiative, Star India, the official media partner of the programme has doubled the level of promotion and broadcast coverage for Khelo India Youth Games. The coverage of the upcoming season will include live telecast in five languages (Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and English) and telecast of all 18 disciplines for both age groups.
Scheduled to take place at Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune from January 9 to 20, 2019, Khelo India Youth Games, Maharashtra 2019 will see over 10,000 participants from 29 states and seven union territories. The games will bring to life by over 6200 athletes, 1800 Technical Officials, 1000 volunteers and 1000 personnel working behind the scenes.