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CM kicks off one-month long Gujarat Khel Mahakumbh 2011

State-level month-long Khel Mahakumbh-2011 invites registration by record 21-lakh athletes

“Gujarat to set up Sports University, beach sports along its long seacoast”

“Record 60,000 physically challenged, 27,000 kabaddi teams to take part”

– Narendra Modi

The second annual state-level month-long mega sports event, christened Khel Mahakumbh, has invited registration by record 21-lakh athletes in different events this year, surpassing last year’s participation by 14-lakh athletes.

Inaugurating the impressive opening ceremony at the Maharaja Sayajirao University Ground in Vadodara, Chief Minister Narendra Modi today announced that Gujarat would soon set up the Gujarat Sports University to encourage youths of the state excel in sports fields too, along with other avocations. He also announced his decision to start beach sports along its long 1,600-km coastline, to placeGujaratin international sports map.

The ceremony began with a colourful march past and cultural show, including a group dance by 4,200 sportswomen and sportsmen to the tune of a theme song, followed by song dance by famous film star Akshay Kumar, reflecting the enthusiasm and energy of the athletes – with a galaxy of 50 celebrated sportspersons in the spectators’ pavilion.

The preparation for this year’s 2nd Khel Mahakumbh began with lighting of the torch in Ahmedabad on 11-11-11, which toured acrossGujaratto arrive in Vadodara today.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Modi said that it was for the first time that a special Olympic for 60,000 physically challenged, and beach sports for 3,500 athletes from the fishing community will be held during this year’s Khel Mahakumb. Over 27,000 kabaddi teams expected to participate during the Khel Mahakumbh is also set to create a record of sorts.

He wished this state-wide Khel Mahakumbh would generate youth’s interest in sports and emergence of a sports culture, which was missing so far. He stressed on the need for infusing sporting spirit in the genes of Gujaratis, in every town, every village and every house. Unfortunately, he said, even the nation of 120-crore lacked that sports culture. He said thatGujaratwould rope in Chinese sports management experts to provide adequate physical infrastructure, training and coaching facilities.

Sports Minister Fakirbhai Vaghela said the idea of Khel Mahakumbh is the Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s gift toGujaratin the year of its golden jubilee celebration.

Film star Akshay Kumar described Mr. Modi as a true sports lover and one who instilled the competition among youth. He exuded confidence that Mr. Modi’s slogan of ‘Ramshe Gujarat, Jitshe Gujarat’ would soon materialize into ‘Jitshe Hindustan’.

Ramshe Gujarat, Jitshe Gujarat ( Gujarat shall play, Gujarat shall win) slogan is very big in size and this slogan will travel to all states of this country and a day will come when Ramshe Hindustan, Jitshe Hindustan(India shall play, India shall win) will be achieved, said bollywood filmstar Akshay Kumar in his speech at Khel Mahakumbh 2011 inaugural function in Vadodara.

Akshay Kumar was special guest in this function. He sat with Chief Minister Narendra Modi and watched the inaugural extravaganza of one-month long Gujarat-wide sports festival with deep interest.

Akshay said, ” I am an actor, I don’t know very well, how to give a speech, but I know how to speak from heart.”

“You know how much Gujarat Chief Minister loves sports, and today this programme is happening because of him. The matter to notice is that he has not only put his heart into this sports festival but has also put his soul in it. I am very thankful to him for giving me an opportunity to witness this initiative,” he said.

In his speech Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi welcomed and thanked Akshay Kumar and said, “whenever I got opportunity to talk with him (Akshay), I observed his commitment to sports. Just now there were many exercises showcased in this ground, but when Judo karate group appeared Akshayji immediately stood up from his seat. He felt nice because he is from the world of black belt and even today he gives time for that.”

“Akshay is after me saying Modiji, Gujarat must have marshal art,” said Modi adding that Akshay’s this idea will be taken well through sports university inGujarat.

Prominent among those present on the occasion included Vadodara District Guardian Minister Nitin Patel, other ministers, parliamentary secretaries, legislators, office-bearers, Sports Secretary Bhagyesh Jha, Gaekwad princely family members Ranjit Singhji, Dr. Mrinalini Devi and Shubahngini Devi.

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