Some of India’s top athletes such as Asian Games medallist sprinter Dutee Chand, swimmer Srihari Nataraj and the shooting duo of Divyansh Singh Panwar and Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar will headline the second edition of Khelo India University Games, starting on Saturday.
The KIUG 2021, delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will see over 4,000 athletes from more than 200 universities compete for the top prize in 20 disciplines.
A total of 257 gold medals will be up for grabs in archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, fencing, football, field hockey, judo, kabaddi, shooting, swimming, tennis, table tennis, volleyball, weightlifting, wrestling, and karate. . Indigenous sports – mallakhamb and yogasana – have been added as special attractions this year.
The Games will take place across five venues in Bengaluru – Jain Global University campus (11 disciplines), Jain Sports School (badminton, tennis, football, and table tennis), Kanteerava Stadium Complex (basketball and athletics), Field Marshal Cariappa Hockey Stadium , and Sports Authority of India (SAI) National Center of Excellence (shooting). Nataraj, who will represent host Jain University, Dutee from KIIT University, badminton star Sai Pratheek also of the host university, archer Tanisha Verma, tennis ace Lohithaksha Bathrinath are among the notable athletes participating.
TOPS development athletes Jeswin Aldrin (long jump), Yashveer (javelin throw), Sandra Babu (long jump), Ancy Sojan (long jump), Aman (wrestling), Madhu Vedwan (recurve archery), Unnati (judo), Vinka and Sachin Siwach (boxing), Maisnam Meiraba and Shikha Gautam (badminton) and Oinam Jubraj (fencing) will also be in the fray. “It is great that new events have been added this time around, especially indigenous sports which we do not see in major leagues. I am pretty excited to follow these events closely,” Nataraj said.
Reflecting her excitement, Dutee said, “I am really happy that KIUG is returning this year to Jain University. A lot of young athletes from Universities around the country will be competing this year. It will help developing athletes go on to make India proud on. the bigger stages. “
On the opening day, hosts Jain University will begin their campaign in basketball against SRM University, while mallakhamb men’s and women’s in pole, rope, and hanging will start at Jain University Global Campus along with volleyball matches at their sprawling indoor arena. Badminton events will commence at the Jain Sports School while the 10m air rifle men, 25m pistol for women, and trap shooting events will commence at the Sports Authority of India.
The Games will see defending champions Panjab University and Savitribai Phule Pune University compete intensely. They are among the universities with the highest representation.