AHMEDABAD: The 36th National Games was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a glittering opening ceremony here on Thursday in the presence of about 1,00,000 spectators.
In keeping with the Olympic convention, but with a modern twist, Gujarat’s swimming star Maana Patel brought the symbolic ‘Torch of Unity’ into the arena and handed it over to the Prime Minister. Watched and applauded by several current and past sports icons, including Neeraj Chopra, PV Sindhu, Ravi Dahiya, Mirabai Chanu, Gagan Narang, Dilip Tirkey and Anju Bobby George, Modi placed the Torch on the podium for it to be lit by augmented reality.
“This sight, this ambience cannot be described in words. In the world’s biggest stadium, one of the world’s youngest countries is witnessing India’s biggest sports festival,” said Modi. The biggest applause was reserved for the 700-strong Gujarat contingent, which was led by tennis star Ankita Raina, who also took the oath on behalf of all the athletes.
The National Games, being held after seven years, will witness India’s best athletes compete in 36 disciplines in six cities of Gujarat. The Games had started on September 20 to accommodate the World Championships-bound table tennis players, but will gather steam on Friday with nine disciplines getting underway. Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu contingent, comprising as many as 480 members, will compete in 30 disciplines at the Games.
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