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Chandigarh Hosts Grand Inauguration of Khelo India Rising Talent Identification (KIRTI) Scheme by Sh. Anurag Thakur, Hon’ble Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports



Chandigarh: The esteemed Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, unveiled the Khelo India Rising Talent Identification (KIRTI) programme with great fervor at the Sector 7 sports complex in Chandigarh on Tuesday. Aimed at school children between 09 to18 years, KIRTI promises to revolutionize talent scouting across the nation. Marking its grand launch across 50 centers nationwide, KIRTI is set to evaluate fifty thousand applicants in its initial phase, encompassing ten sports disciplines including Hockey, Athletics, Boxing, Volleyball, Weightlifting, Wrestling, Kho-Kho, Kabbadi, Archery and Football. In Chandigarh, assessment tests will be conducted initially for seven sports disciplines i.e. Athletics, Badminton, Volleyball, Football, Hockey, Kho-Kho and Kabbadi. With a bold vision to conduct 20 lakh assessments throughout the year, KIRTI will establish Talent Assessment Centres to identify and nurture budding athletes across the country. The distinctive feature of KIRTI lies in its athlete-centric approach and transparent selection process facilitated by cutting-edge Information Technology. Leveraging data analytics and Artificial Intelligence, the programme aims to predict and harness the sporting potential of aspiring athletes efficiently. Addressing the gathering, Shri Thakur emphasized the strategic collaboration required with National Sports Federations and state governments to ensure the success of such a monumental talent scouting initiative. He highlighted the government's substantial investment of Rs 3000 Crore in infrastructure and the establishment of over 1000 Khelo India Centres nationwide to support aspiring athletes. Shri Thakur emphasized that youth were the building blocks of the nation and to achieve results in sports, one must start early. Saying an athlete needed at least 10 years of preparation to win an Olympic medal, the minister said, “KIRTI wants to reach out to every block in the country and connect with those kids who want to play a sport but don’t know how. We know every child playing sport won’t win a medal but at least we want to use sports to keep the young away from drugs and other addictions. I urge every child to register through the MyBharat portal and the onus will be on us to go to them and provide the opportunity through KIRTI.” Praising the KIRTI programme, Member Parliament Smt. Kirron Kher, expressed optimism about bridging the gap between dreams and reality for young athletes. She emphasized the significance of providing a clear pathway for every child aspiring to excel in sports, citing the illustrious sporting legacy of Chandigarh with athletes like Kapil Dev, Yuvraj Singh, and Abhinav Bindra. In a gesture of gratitude, Adviser to the Administrator Sh. Rajeev Verma thanked the Hon’ble Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports for selecting Chandigarh as the launch site for this transformative scheme. He reiterated Chandigarh Administration's unwavering commitment to fostering sporting excellence and empowering athletes on their journey towards national glory. Sh. Rajeev Verma further added that on the occasion of National Sports Day on 29th August, 2023, UT Chandigarh launched its ‘Sports Policy’. This Policy introduced several progressive measures, including a substantial increase in the scholarship budget for sports persons, generous cash awards like Rs. 6 crore for Olympic Gold medalists, Rs. 3 crore for Asian Games Gold medalists, cash awards for coaches in 19 categories to recognize their dedication and commitment, and an innovative talent hunt program catering to children starting as young as 6 years old. This policy reiterates our collective resolve to make Chandigarh the most viable and world class sporting destination for all our athletes and sports enthusiasts. Mirroring our dedication to inclusivity, equity, and excellence, the UT's Sports Policy has substantially increased the Scholarship budget for sportspersons, and our policy reflects our unwavering support for athletes at every level. Moreover, our commitment extends to providing state-of-the-art facilities for injury rehabilitation and fostering opportunities for differently-abled and economically disadvantaged athletes. On the same day, a state-of-the-art, 400 m., 8-lane synthetic athletic track was also inaugurated at this very Sports Stadium, where we have gathered today. This new facility, built to international standards, promises to be a game-changer for future athletes in training. During the last 5 years major sports infrastructure projects worth Rs.24.70 crore have been completed and dedicated to the general public. The inauguration of a state-of-the-art synthetic athletic track and ongoing infrastructure projects underscore Chandigarh's dedication to sporting excellence and its pledge to contribute wholeheartedly to the nation's sporting aspirations. The event witnessed the presence of esteemed dignitaries, including Joint Secretary Sports, Govt. of India, Home Secretary, Chandigarh Administration, Secretary Sports Authority of India, Secretary Education, Chandigarh Administration, Secretary Sports, Chandigarh Administration and Director Sports, Chandigarh Administration.


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