Post the success of the third edition of the Khelo India Youth Games 2020 that featured young athletes in the U-17 and U-21 age categories, Indian sports will receive yet another boost in the form of the inaugural Khelo Indian University Games (KIUG 2020), which will witness over 4000 athletes from across 176 universities in the age group of 17-25 years of age taking part in the competition.
With the maiden edition of the University Games slated to be hosted at the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology in Bhubhaneshwar from 22nd February to March 1st 2020, the real aim of organising such a tournament is to increase India's chances of producing talented athletes who can prove their worth as medal contenders at the Olympics.
As stated by Odisha's sports minister Tusharkanti Behera, the focus is on increasing the "sports culture" in colleges and universities and building the platform for budding athletes to hone their skills in order to match the standards of competition at the OlyOlympic
"The platform will build the value of sports in higher education and is a step forwards in strengthening India's position at the Olympics, Asian Games, and Commonwealth Games by identifying and nurturing talent from an early stage."
Athletes from reputed universities such as Guru Nanak Dev University, University of Delhi, University of Calicut, Jamila Milia Islamia University among other big colleges will look to make their presence felt at the event and make a name for themselves across 17 sporting disciplines.
Also check out: Khelo India University Games 2020 medal tally
Archery, kabaddi, badminton, athletics, boxing, fencing, swimming, judo, weightlifting, basketball, football, hockey, table tennis, tennis, volleyball and rugby are the 17 disciplines that will be held in different venues, mainly the Kalinga Stadium and JN Indoor Stadium in Cuttack.
With Odisha hosting big events such as the Men's Hockey World Cup, Hockey Olympic qualifiers, Asian Athletics Championships among other high-profile events over the past year, the 'Sports Capital' of India, Behera credited Odisha for bringing about a fresh breath of air for athletes in IndIndi
"Things are changing with better financial payouts for sportspersons and an attitudinal shift, and Odisha has been at the forefront of this change."
Notably, a few of the athletes who have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 will also be representing their universities in the KIUG 2020, which is being organised by the Government of Odisha with the support of SAI (Sports Authority of India), and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).