Guwahati (Assam), Jan 10 : The third Khelo India Youth Games has begun here with a grand opening ceremony this evening. A colorful cultural event enthralled the spectators. In all, 6,500 athletes are taking part in the Khelo India at 20 disciplines. Inaugurating the games, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that the Assam Government has taken various steps to promote sports.
In his welcome speech, CM Sonowal said that the people of Assam are great sports enthusiasts. He thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking prompt steps for the development of North East region. Attending the event, Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju hoped that this event would be a milestone in achieving the aspiration of the people. He said, India would be in top 10 in the Los Angels Olympics. Rijiju said that the government is committed to promote the young talents from across the country.
There was magnificent cultural events, the ever popular Bihu dance was performed. The glory of Assam including Lachit Borphukan, Bhupen Hazarika, Majuli river island, the one horn rhinos – all were part of the show.
The rich culture of other North Eastern states were displayed. The Ek Bharat, Shrestra Bharat was shown. The Fit India initiatives was exhibited in front of around 20 thousand spectators. And there was also performance by the very popular singer Shankar Mahadevan.
Priyanka Dasgupta, hailing from Tripura, grabbed the spotlight on Day 1 of the gymnastics competition, clinching the Girls Under-17 All-Around crown in the Khelo India Youth Games 2020 on Friday.
Similarly, Jatin Kumar Kanojia carried the flame for Uttar Pradesh, claiming the Boys Under-17 All-Around gold with a measure of comfort.
Asmi Ankush Badade and Shreya Pravin Bhangale made it a 1-2 for Maharashtra in the Girls Under-17 rhythmic gymnastics all-around competition but it was the self-taught Upasha Talukdar who captured the hearts of the capacity crowd by winning bronze, Assam’s first medal in the Games.
Maharashtra’s Maitreyi Amit Selukar and Nishka Chintamani finished higher in the ranking than Upasha Talukdar, who learnt her routines by watching videos online. But since the rules allow only two athletes from a state to win medals in a gymnastics event, the Assamese girl was awarded the bronze medal.
Gujarat’s Pramilaben Baria gave herself a belated birthday present with a superb set of 36 arrows to top the Girls Under-21 Recurve archery qualifying round with 648 points. Himani Kumari (Haryana), who lost the bronze medal play-off last year, finished second with 643 points, finishing just ahead of World cadet champion Komolika Bari (Jharkhand).
The Haryana duo of Sachin Gupta (671) and Sunny Kumar (665) topped the Boys Under-21 Recurve archery qualifying round on a day when Andhra Pradesh’s Kundru Venkat (699) and Rajasthan’s Priya Gurjar (686) earned the right to be ranked first in the Under-17 Compound boys and girls events respectively.
Coming from a city known for its gymnastics tradition dating back several decades, 15-year-old Priyanka Dasgupta, nailed the Girls Under-17 All-Around gold medal with a total of 42.60 points, improving on the 42.05 that West Bengal’s Protishta Samanta had secured in winning gold last year.
Daughter of a driver, Priyanka Dasgupta learnt the ropes at the Vivekananda Byamagar in Agartala and, despite holding promise, missed out on a podium finish in Pune by a mere 0.05 points after an unsatisfactory show on the uneven bars. She ensured that there would be no slips-up this time, completing her routines with aplomb.
The 14-year-old Jatin Kumar Kanojia, who was 13th in the Khelo India Youth Games in Pune last year but won gold on the parallel bars, was confidence personified as he ensured that the All-Around title won in 2019 by Mohammed Rafey was emulated. In fact, he scored 68.90 points, a shade better than his predecessor.
Delhi’s Tushar Kalyan became the only one to complete a hat-trick of All-Around medals in Khelo India Games when he moved up a rung from last year to take the silver, stopping an Uttar Pradesh 1-2 in the event. He had won bronze in the Khelo India School Games in Delhi in 2018. Jatin Kumar Kanojia’s state-mate, 14-year-old Saref Khan, took the bronze.
Competitions got under way in kabaddi, volleyball and table tennis while athletics, judo and shooting will begin on Saturday, with a number of medals up for grabs.
(With Bureau & Agency inputs)