Bengaluru: The highly-anticipated second edition of the Khelo India University Games 2021 is set to kick off on Saturday in the Karnataka capital. KIUG 2021, delayed by a year due to the pandemic, will see over 4,000 athletes from over 200 universities compete for the top prize in 20 disciplines.
A total of 257 gold medals will be up for grabs in Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Fencing, Football, Field Hockey, Judo, Kabaddi, Shooting, Swimming, Tennis, Table tennis, Volleyball, Weightlifting, Wrestling and Karate.
Indigenous sports Mallakhamb and Yogasana have been added as special attractions this year. KIUG 2021 will take place across five venues in Bengaluru - Jain Global University campus (11 disciplines, including Yogasana), Jain Sports School (Badminton, Tennis, Football, and Table Tennis), Kanteerava Stadium Complex (Basketball and Athletics), Field Marshal Cariappa Hockey Stadium, and Sports Authority of India (SAI) National Centre of Excellence (Shooting).
Renowned India swimmer Srihari Nataraj, who will represent host Jain University, sprinter Dutee Chand from KIIT University, badminton star Sai Pratheek also of host university, archer Tanisha Verma, tennis ace Lohithaksha Bathrinath are among the notable athletes participating in KIUG 2021.
The shooting duo of Divyansh Singh Panwar and Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, and TOPS development athletes Jeswin Aldrin (Long Jump), Yashveer (Javelin Throw), Sandra Babu (Long Jump), Ancy Sojan (Long Jump), Aman (Wrestling), Madhu Vedwan (Recurve Archery), Unnati (Judo), Vinka and Sachin Siwach (Boxing), Maisnam Meiraba and Shikha Gautam (Badminton) and Oinam Jubraj (Fencing) will also be in the limelight.
"I am very happy that the KIUG 2021 is taking place in Karnataka, my home ground. It is great that new events have been added this time around, especially indigenous sports which we do not see in major leagues. I am pretty excited to follow these events closely. I am confident SAI, the Government of Karnataka, and my University will ensure to make this Khelo India Games better than the inaugural edition," Srihari Nataraj said.
Reflecting her excitement, Dutee Chand said, "Khelo India University Games could not take place in 2021 due to Covid. But I am really happy that KIUG is returning this year to Jain University. A lot of young athletes from Universities around the country will be competing this year. It will help developing athletes go on to make India proud on the bigger stages."
On April 23, hosts Jain University will begin their campaign in basketball against SRM University at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, while Mallakhamb men's and women's in pole, rope, and hanging will begin at Jain University Global Campus along with volleyball matches at their sprawling indoor arena.
Badminton events will commence at the Jain Sports School while in shooting, the 10m air riflemen, 25m pistol for women, and trap shooting events will begin at the Sports Authority of India. Dr Sankar UV, Director of Sports, Jain Deemed-to-be University, said it is a great honour for his institution to host the second Khelo India University Games.
The Government of India, the Government of Karnataka and AIU have entrusted us with the responsibility. KIUG is a platform for athletes to showcase their talent, and earn an opportunity to represent the country in events like the World University Games. We are proud to be hosting the event and showcase Karnataka, which will soon be a sporting hub as well."
The Games will see defending champions Panjab University and Savitribai Phule Pune University compete intensely. They are among the Universities with the highest representation.
The city has been decked up with hoardings all over the city for the arrival of the athletes from universities across India as the State Government has made tremendous efforts to make the entire Bengaluru city a part of the Khelo India University Games 2021. The participants will enter the KIUG environment from the time they step out of the railway and bus stations as the Khelo India University Games 2021 billboards welcome them.
More than 3,500 rooms and 1,500 Art of Living rooms have been earmarked for them across the city. Around 1000 technical officials, and 1300 volunteers will be deployed for the successful completion of the event.