“Games Mascot ‘Ashtalakshmi’ symbolizes how the aspirations of the North East are getting new wings”
“Khelo India sports events are being organized across every corner of India, from the North to the South and from the West to the East”
"Just as academic achievements are celebrated, we must develop a tradition of honouring those who excel in sports. We must learn from Northeast to do so"
"Whether it's Khelo India, Tops, or other initiatives, a new ecosystem of possibilities is being created for our young generation"
“Our athletes can achieve anything if they are helped with a scientific approach”

Chief Minister of Assam, Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma; my Cabinet colleague, Shri Anurag Thakur ji; Ministers of the Government of Assam, distinguished guests, and talented young athletes from across the nation!

I am delighted to join all of you at the Khelo India University Games. This edition of the games is taking place across various cities in seven states of the North East. The mascot for these games, Ashtalakshmi, depicted as a butterfly, symbolizes the vibrant spirit of the North-Eastern states. I often refer to the North-East as the Ashtalakshmi of Bharat, and having a butterfly as the mascot reflects the region's soaring aspirations. My heartfelt best wishes go out to all the participants in this event. To all the athletes who have gathered here from every corner of the country, you are painting a magnificent picture of Bharat, a great Bharat, here in Guwahati. Play hard, strive for victory, and remember, even in defeat, there are valuable lessons to be learned.

Friends,

I am pleased to observe the increasing frequency of sports-related events taking place across the nation, spanning from North to South and East to West Bharat. Today, we are witnessing the Khelo India University Games here in the North East. Just a few days ago, the Khelo India Winter Games were hosted in Ladakh. Prior to that, the Khelo India Youth Games took place in Tamil Nadu. Even earlier, Beach Games were organized in Diu, situated on the west coast of Bharat. These events underscore the growing opportunities for youth in every corner of the country to engage in sports and thrive. Therefore, I extend my congratulations to the Government of Assam and other state governments for their efforts in organizing this event.

Friends,

There has been a notable shift in societal attitudes towards sports today. Previously, parents often hesitated to highlight their children's accomplishments in sports when introducing them to someone. There was a concern that emphasizing sports achievements might suggest a lack of focus on academics. However, this perspective is shifting positively. Nowadays, parents proudly mention when their child has participated in state-level or national-level competitions or has earned an international medal.

Friends,

It is imperative that we not only promote sports but also celebrate it. This responsibility lies not only with the athletes but also with society as a whole. Just as high academic achievers are respected, so too should be those who excel in sports. We must cultivate a tradition of honouring sports achievements. In this regard, we can draw inspiration from the North East. The reverence for sports and the enthusiastic celebration of athletic prowess in the North East are truly remarkable. From football to athletics, badminton to boxing, weightlifting to chess, athletes from this region are consistently reaching new heights with their talent. The North East has fostered a culture of embracing sports, and I am confident that all the athletes participating in this tournament will gain valuable experiences to inspire the entire nation.

Friends,

Whether it's Khelo India, TOPS, or similar initiatives, today, a comprehensive ecosystem of new opportunities is being forged for our younger generation. From training to scholarships, a conducive environment is being cultivated for athletes in our country. This year, a record budget of Rs 3500 crore has been allocated for sports. We have bolstered the nation's sporting talent with a scientific approach. The result is evident: Bharat is now securing more medals in every competition than ever before. The world is taking notice of Bharat's record-breaking performances in the Asian Games and its ability to compete on a global scale. Bharat has also achieved remarkable success in the World University Games. In 2019, we won 4 medals; however, in 2023, our youth proudly secured 26 medals. This achievement is not merely about the number of medals; it is a testament to the potential of our youth when provided with a scientific approach and support.

Friends,

In a few days, you will step out into the world beyond the university. While education prepares us for this world, it's equally true that sports instil the courage to confront its challenges. Successful individuals possess not only talent but also the right temperament. They know how to lead, work with a team spirit, and rebound from setbacks. They know how to excel and work under pressure and give their best when it matters most. Sports serve as an excellent medium to develop these qualities. Engaging in sports fosters the acquisition of such attributes. Hence, I affirm: "Jo khelta hai, wo khilta hai" ( those who play, flourish).

Friends,

Today, I wish to assign one task to my young friends and this task is not related to sports. The North East is renowned for its natural beauty. After the games, seize the opportunity to explore your surroundings. Share your experiences and memories on social media, using the hashtag #NorthEastMemories. Additionally, try to learn a few sentences in the local language of the state where you're playing. Consider using the Bhashini app to communicate with locals; it's sure to enhance your experience.

Friends,

I am confident that the experience you will gain at this event will be memorable for a lifetime. With this hope, I extend my best wishes to all of you once again.


Thank you very much.

 

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