The first-ever Winter Games under 'Khelo India', a national programme for development of sports, commenced in Gulmarg on March 7.
The sports minister tweeted on the inauguration of the Khelo India Winter Games. "A great day for Indian sports as India's 1st #KheloIndia Winter Games has begun at Gulmarg. Another huge step in fulfilling PM @narendramodi ji's vision to provide opportunities for the youths to play and make India a great sporting nation," wrote Rijiju.
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju had earlier said that it will be the largest ever and of the highest standard.
A great day for Indian sports as India's 1st #KheloIndia Winter Games has begun at Gulmarg. Another huge step in fulfilling PM @narendramodi ji's vision to provide opportunities for the youths to play and make India a great sporting nation. pic.twitter.com/c6oKLqXH5q— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) March 7, 2020
The Sports Minister has said that Kashmir will be 'hub of winter games' and announced Centre of Excellence in Winter Sports at Gulmarg.
The Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports also said that Government of India is mulling to bolster sports ecology of Jammu and Kashmir, insisting that Kashmir would be hub of winter games.
Inaugurating the maiden Khelo India Winter Games here today, Rijiju said that Jammu and Kashmir has a huge potential in sports sector and Government would do everything possible to upgrade the sports infrastructure and sports ecology of the Himalayan region.
He said that with an aim to promote winter sports in India, the Government of India would setup National Excellence Center of Winter Sports in Gulmarg. “It will be a residential facility funded by GoI where professional winter games athletes will be trained for world class competitions,” he added.
The Union Minister said that Government would encourage interested athletes or retired sports veterans for setting up sports centers across Jammu and Kashmir. “Coaches of different sports categories will be given Rs 5 Lakh for setting up sports centers across J&K,” he assured.
“It will not only help us to identify talent and hone their skills in various sports but will be a source of employment as well.”
Saying that J&K has a huge talent, the Union Minister complimented the local players for bagging medals in various national and international events. He said that this is a historic event -- not only for J&K but whole country.
“Those who are here today at this place are lucky. This is the beginning of mega sports events in Gulmarg. More mega events are in pipeline for this place,” he said.
The Union Minister added that he is hopeful of an increase in tourism with the culmination of the event. He said he was impressed with the enthusiasm shown by the athletes in today’s event.
Extending invitation to sports and nature lovers, the Union Minister said the travellers should come and feel the natural wonder here. “Only then they can realise what paradise on Earth is," he said.
He said the winter games will give a big fillip to tourism industry here. He said tourists don't need to go to Europe when Kashmir is just in the country. "Travellers should come here and enjoy the beauty and also fun-filled winter activities."
Notably, there are about 30 events including snowboarding, snow skiing, cross country and snow show in which players from across India are participating. Besides this, snow cycling and other games are also held for the local children.
Pertinently, the world-famous ski destination Gulmarg is abuzz with the several activities held under five- day national winter games event starting from today under Khelo India- a national programme for development of sports.
On the occasion, Mr. Rijiju was presented memento by Advisor to Lt Governor, Farooq Khan.