After the results of the 2012 Gujarat Vidhan Sabha were declared and in between the massive preparations of the 2013 Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, I attended a very important function in Gandhinagar. The occasion was the flagging off of the Torch Rally for Khel Mahakumbh 2012-2013. Usually we have the Khel Mahakumbh, our annual sports extravaganza, in November but the Model Code of Conduct did not permit us to do the same in 2012. Hence, the Khel Mahakumbh commences today, on 18th January.
In this edition of the Khel Mahakumbh, we expect to see a record participation from athletes cutting across all age groups. Already over 24 lakh athletes including over 1 lakh specially abled athletes have registered for 20 sporting events, which is far higher than the 18-lakh participants we had during Khel Mahakumbh 2011. The Torch Rally itself has moved around the length and breadth of the state for the last 18 days to further popularize the Khel Mahakumbh. Being the 150th birth year of Swami Vivekananda, the Gujarat Government set up Vivekananda Yuva Kendras in the last one year, which will provide a great impetus to the Khel Mahakumbh.
Initiatives such as Khel Mahakumbh are not merely sports meets where players come, play and leave; this is not a one-off event held to fill the calendar of the Government. In reality, the Khel Mahakumbh is an integral part of a larger determination of the Government to promote a culture of sports and sportsmanship among the people of Gujarat.
I have noticed that due to pressures of books, education, classes etc. the sports fields wear a desolate look during the evenings. This is a far cry from our times, when were eagerly awaited an evening game as much as we awaited a stimulating lecture. This is a matter of concern. The wide availability of video games, computer games and television have made the home a much better place of recreation as compared to the field.
This reminds me of a similar situation about which I had read about- in China it was noticed that after coming back from school, little children preferred to watch cartoons instead of going out to play. That is when the authorities decided not to screen any cartoon during a certain time so that the children go on the field.
We must make sports an integral part of our lives. It is a fact that without sport there can be no sportsman spirit. It is also rightly said,
“Jo Khele, Woh Khile” (The person who plays, shines!). We need not be professionals at the sport we play but picking up one sport as a hobby is something that can do wonders for our overall personal development.
We have decided to leave no stone unturned to promote every aspect of sports development. Our efforts are not limited to creating only talented players. There is an immense Human Resource Development potential linked with sports and we want that to grow leaps and bounds. Why cant we think of empowering umpiring skills, refereeing skills, encourage all the youngsters who are part of the proceedings without being on the field? There is scope for immense growth in areas of sports medicine, sports journalism and sports infrastructure. Our Sports Policy looks at all these issues comprehensively. We have also come up with a Sports Academy and are working towards creating Sports Schools in every district. We need to go further ahead and scale new heights of glory and give our youngsters the opportunity to shine on the sports field.
Apart from the Khel Mahakumbh, I invite you to be a part of Kutch Desert Car Rally 2013 that will be held on 25th January 2013. The Desert Car Rally has been a unique inititative to promote tourism and adventure sports in Kutch and in the past few editions it has really grown to spectacular heights.
Gujarat has just witnessed the Kumbh of development during the 2013 Vibrant Gujarat Summit. At the same time the Maha Kumbh is underway at Prayag and today I invite every one of you to extend your participation and support during this Mahakumbh of sports and sportsmanship. Those of you who are not playing should go to the venues and encourage the athletes. Breathe in their passion, their dedication and their determination. Victory and defeat are not the only aspects of sports. What is more important is the healthy atmosphere of sportsman spirit and this is what we seek to do during the Khel Mahakumbh, with the Mantra of
‘Ramshe Gujarat, Jeetshe Gujarat’ (Gujarat will play, Gujarat will win). So, come and be a part of this Mahakumbh of sports development!
Jay Jay Garvi Gujarat