Srinagar, Feb 14: The third Khelo India National Winter Games 2023, the biggest winter sports competition the nation has ever seen, came to an end on Thursday at the ski resort of Gulmarg.
The wintersport carnival that started on February 9 saw more than 1500 athletes representing 29 States, Union Territories and Institutional teams participating in 10 sports disciplines Alpine Skiing, Nordic Skiing, Snowboarding, SnowShoe, Ski Mountaineering, Ice Hockey, Ice Skating, Ice Stock, Curling, Bobsledge and Bandy.
The concluding ceremony of the event turned out a huge success, which was held on Tuesday with Union Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Youth Affairs and Sports NisithPramanik as chief guest while as Secretary to the Government, Youth Services and Sports Department SarkarHafeez, Commandant HAWS, Secretary Sports Council NuzhatGul were among other guests present.
Terming the event a huge success that has paved way for the popularisation of wintersport in the Country, NisithPramanik said, “ Congratulations to Sports Council and especially LG ManojSinha and all those who made this event possible and a great success. I personally welcome and thank all the athletes and officials who have come from all over India to make this event a success. It has been only because of you and history has been created”.
Nisith Pramanik said that Khelo India Winter Games are held under the direction of PM NarendraModi and this year it has broken all previous records.
“ The 3rd Edition of Khelo India that has just been held isn’t just winter games but it is greater than that. Khelo India Winter Games was initiated under the directions of the PM who has the vision to promote and develop wintersport in the Country,” he said.
“PM has a vision that our athletes have potential and can excel in Wintersports as well. This edition of the games has broken all previous records. It had more participation and also more events,” he said.
The Union Minister pointed out that J&K nowadays remains in news for all the positive reasons which wasn’t the case previously.
“We know for what reasons J&K was always in news. But now, through PM’s vision and guidance, J&K remains in news because of Sports and other activities proving that J&K youth are not behind anyone. They are winning medals and making Country proud,” he said.
Nisith Pramanik said that during the last three to four years massive sports infrastructure development has taken place in J&K.
“In every district of J&K Indoor stadium has been developed. The vision is to develop a playing field in every village of the Union Territory. It is only after that we will see more players like Arif Khan coming out from J&K”.
“ Next year the event will be held in a bigger and better way. It is my promise to you as we are focused on making Wintersports as popular in the country as Summer sports. Khelo India is the flagship scheme of the Sports Ministry through which basic sports talent is nurtured.
He said that currently, Indian athletes are shining on bigger stages and arenas. Since PM Modi took oath in 2014 he has made sure that Sportspersons receive the respect and facilities they deserve.
“Soon after assuming office in 2014, schemes like target Olympics were launched. Whenever any athlete brings laurels for Country, PM sends a personal message to the player and even interacts with them,” he said
Union Minister congratulated Secretary Sports Council NuzhatGul for the successful conduct of the event. He again mentioned that next time the event will be held in a bigger and better way that even in foreign countries it will be spoken off.
Minister after his speech declared the Games as closed.
Earlier Sarmad Hafeez in his address had termed Gulmarg as the Winter Wonderland which has no match.
“I must thank Union Minister for being present during the closing ceremony. This is the biggest Khelo India Winter Games that we had and we have been conducting this for three straight years now. Grateful to Ministry for the support and thanks to all the visiting athletes who made this possible at this winter wonderland we call Gulmarg,” SarmadHafeez said.
“This was a great event and I hope you were taken care of well. It wasn’t not just about sports, it was about sharing ideas, sharing warmth and cultural values,” Hafeez said.
Sarmad said that with the announcement of establishing a centre of excellence in J&K, our athletes can make the Country proud at the International level.
Sarmad said that he hopes that J&K turns into the centre of winter sports for the entire country.
“It was not just about sports but much larger than that. It was to convey a message to the rest of the World where we are and bring attention towards our beautiful slopes and natural beauty. Gulmarg has the highest skiing point in the World. Next year winter sports would be expanded to more areas of J&K and even to Jammu.
Later Nuzhat Gul gave a vote of thanks and thanked everyone for making the event possible.