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07 January 2020 | in NUSF News

First ever National University Games to be held in India

The first ever ‘Khelo India University Games’ will be organized in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, from 22 February to 1 March 2020. In what is a big step for the Association of Indian Universities, this inaugural event will bring together the country’s best university athletes in 17 different sports and disciplines.


Over the past few years, the city of Bhubaneswar has hosted several big sporting events such as the 2018 Men's Hockey World Cup, the 2019 Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships and the recent Hockey Olympic Qualifiers, among others. Odisha's capital city continues to attract big-ticket events as it is one of the host cities for the 2020 FIFA U-17 Women's Football World Cup.


Odisha's Minister of Sports and Youth Services, Tusharkanti Behera said, “Sports is a priority sector in Odisha. Our Chief Minister's vision of ‘Sports for Youth, Youth for Future’ is aligned with the Central Government’s sports initiatives, including FIT India and Khelo India, which encourage youth to lead a healthy lifestyle and practice sports.”


The first edition of the Khelo India University Games will provide a multi-sport opportunity for participation to university athletes. The event is being organised jointly by the Government of Odisha in association with the Sports Authority of India, Association of Indian Universities and Indian Olympic Association (IOA).


“We are confident that this inaugural event will pave the way for future editions and give an impetus to university sports in India,” said Dr. Pankaj Mittal, Secretary General of the Association of Indian Universities. "We are working on future plans for more participation in international university sports programmes in collaboration with FISU and the Asian University Sports Federation (AUSF)."  


The Indian contingent at the Napoli 2019 Summer Universiade last year had a very successful event with sprinter Dutee Chand winning a historic gold in the women's 100m dash and making headlines back home. It was a first-ever athletics gold medal for an Indian athlete at the Universiade.


The games are expected to witness the participation of approximately 4,000 athletes from around 80-100 universities, who will compete in: Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Fencing, Football, Hockey, Judo, Kabaddi, Rugby, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball, Weightlifting and Wrestling.


The KIIT University campus, where the event will be hosted, has 12 sports complexes with state-of-the-art swimming pools, outdoor courts, multi-purpose halls, and indoor stadiums distributed across different areas. Sprawling over 29 acres, the KIIT Stadium has the capacity to hold day and night matches and is a regular venue for first-class Ranji Trophy cricket matches.


The first ever Khelo India University Games will be broadcast by the national broadcaster Doordarshan.