Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

With a vision to identify talent and create an opportunity for young and aspiring para athletes to shine, Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur announced the first-ever Khelo India Para Games which will be held in New Delhi from December 10-17. 

“I am proud to announce that from December 10 to 17, the first-ever Khelo India Para Games will be held in various locations across New Delhi. A total of seven disciplines will be held across three SAI (Sports Authority of India) Stadiums,” said Thakur through a video message.

The announcement is a big shot in the arm towards the government’s initiative to develop para sports in the country, and the event will help in identifying talented para athletes who will be further aided with ample support from SAI and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to hone their skills. 

Over 1350 participants from across 32 states and union territories including the Services Sports Control Board are expected to participate in the maiden Khelo India Para Games which will witness para athletes vie for top honours in seven disciplines including para athletics, para shooting, para archery, para football, para badminton, para table tennis, and para weight lifting. The events will be held across three SAI stadiums – the IG Stadium, Shooting Range in Tughlaqabad, and the JLN Stadium. 

Recent Hangzhou Asian Para Games stars Sheetal Devi, Bhavina Patel, Ekta Bhyan, Neeraj Yadav, Singhraj, Manish, Sonal, Rakesh Kumar, Sarita among others are expected to represent their respective states in the first edition of Khelo India Para Games.

Lauding the efforts of Indian para athletes who won an unprecedented 111 medals at the recently concluded Asian Para Games in Hangzhou, Thakur emphasized that the Khelo India Para Games will aim to provide continuity to the para athletes with the annually held event. 

Since 2018, a total of 11 Khelo India Games have been successfully held. This includes five Khelo India Youth Games, three Khelo India University Games and as many Khelo India Winter Games. Thakur expressed that these Games have been instrumental in identifying talent across the country and have aided in India’s performance at the prestigious multi-discipline events. 

 “The Khelo India Scheme has remained a game-changer for Indian sports. The Khelo India Games have played a pivotal role in the scheme with a total of 11 Khelo India Games held since 2018. From these games, we have identified nearly 1000 talented athletes and many of them have participated in Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and the Olympic Games. I wish the para athletes participating in the upcoming Games the very best,” said Thakur.