The Union Territory of Ladakh will host the inaugural Khelo India Winter Games later this month followed by a similar event in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir in March, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju announced on Thursday.
The sports ministry will fund both the Khelo India Winter Games – in Ladakh in the third week of February and in Jammu and Kashmir in the first week of March.
The Khelo India Ladakh Winter Games will feature an open ice hockey championship, figure skating and speed skating and the competition will be conducted at block, district and Union Territory levels with an expected participation of about 1700 athletes.
The competitions of the Khelo India Jammu and Kashmir Winter Games will be held at Kongdori, Gulmarg in four age categories for both boys and girls.
Athletes in the age categories of 19-21 years, 17-18 years, 15-16 years and 13-14 years can compete in alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snow boarding and snowshoeing.
Around 841 athletes and officials are expected to participate in the Games being organised by J&K Sports Council and Winter Games Association of Jammu and Kashmir, with 15 teams from different states and organisations.
Speaking about the decision to organise the Khelo India Winter Games, Rijiju said, “There is no better means than sport to channelise energy of youth in right direction.”
“We have included disciplines like Ice Hockey, Figure Skating, Speed Skating, that are part of Olympics, and with time we may also be able to produce champions in these disciplines in India.
“I am happy to announce the initiation of yet another Khelo India Games. This will be the third Khelo India Games in one year, and we plan to organise one for indigenous games as well” he added.