Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of the Khelo India initiative in his weekly radio programme Mann ki baat.
The Sports Talent Search Portal will be launched on Monday, August 28, a day before National Sports day. Dhyan Chand, former hockey legend, whose birthday is celebrated as Sports Day, was also referred to in his speech by Modi.
“The country celebrates National Sports Day on the 29th of August. This is the birth anniversary of the great hockey player, hockey wizard, Major Dhyan Chand ji. His contribution to hockey was unparallelled. I am reminding you of this because I want the younger generation of our country to take part in sports,” he said.
“Sports should become a part of our lives. If we are a young nation, our youth should get manifested in the field of sports as well. Sports means physical fitness, mental alertness and personality enhancement. What else does one need? Sports, in a way, is a recipe that brings people together.”
Khelo India is expected to be a program where upcoming sports talent in India will be given training, funding and a stipend. Kids, who are upto eight years or age, can upload their bio-data or video in the portal, and will be shortlisted by the Sports Ministry and called to the nearest Sports Authority of India centre for trials and selection.
Modi also called for the newer generation to consider sports as a way of life and play more outdoor sports. “Sports helps in building physical fitness and mental alertness. In this age of computers, the playing field should become more important than PlayStation. You may play Fifa on your computer, but you can play football on the field as well. You may play cricket on the computer too, but the feeling of playing cricket under an open sky on a field is joyous.”
The upcoming FIFA Under-17 World Cup is also an important event for Indian sport, not just from a competition side of things, but also from an organisation point of view, as all eyes will be on the host nation.
The Prime Minister also made a note of it in his address, “From October 6 to 28, India will be home to 24 teams who will be taking part in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup. India welcomes all teams coming here for the World Cup.”
On Saturday, the Department of Sports had issued a letter directing all the athletes and staff associated with the Sports Authority of India to tune in to Mann Ki Baat on Sunday and share photos on social media of them listening in.