Lucknow: The third edition of the Khelo India University Games (KIUG) will begin in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday.
Branded as the ‘biggest endeavour’ taken up by the state, over 4,000 athletes and officials from 207 universities in the country are expected to take part in 21 disciplines to be hosted over 12 days.
While five cities of Uttar Pradesh will host most of the events, shooting events will be held in New Delhi.
KIUG kicks off on Tuesday with kabaddi matches at the SVSP Sports Complex Indoor Hall, Gautam Buddha Nagar, its official opening ceremony will take place in Lucknow on Thursday.
This edition will also be marking the debut of water sports as Taal lake in Ramgarh, Gorakhpur will play host to a rowing contest.
Although the annual event is a good platform for athletes to make a name for themselves in the national sporting scenario, officials of various state sports associations, and even Uttar Pradesh Olympic Association, were disappointed with the poor sports infrastructure in the state.
All the events during the 12-day Games will be organised at ‘borrowed’ venues due to a dearth of suitable infrastructure owned by the UP Sports Directorate.
“The 1982 Asian Games and the 2010 Commonwealth Games allowed New Delhi to build a world-class sporting infrastructure. It helps our sportspersons train better and win medals at international levels, including the Olympics. And through KIUG, we expect development on those lines, at least in the universities of the state,” the state Olympic association secretary-general Anandeshwar Pandey said.
Meanwhile, the executive director of the Sports Authority of India’s Lucknow centre, Sanjay Saraswat, felt that KIUG helps athletes gain some visibility at the national-level.
“The idea behind Khelo India University Games is to ensure fair play in sports as there were reports of mass manipulations in the school and university games held earlier. All athletes deserve a chance to prove their mettle.
“We need to have a robust policy for university athletes,” he said, adding that the university games help improve the sporting infrastructure of a state.
“KIUG is a big event as far as the sporting development of the state is concerned, and I am sure it will give ample opportunity to athletes of Uttar Pradesh’s universities to showcase their talent and win medals,” said the state’s sports director, R.P. Singh.