Confetti, streamers and chants bring KIYG to a close

Maharashtra, champions of Khelo India Youth Games receiving the trophy from Mr. Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Government of India and Mr. Vinod Tawde, Sports Minister, Maharashtra.

The curtains fell on the Khelo India Youth Games 2019 in a shower of confetti, victory chants of “Jai Maharashtra” and deafening music as the hosts emerged with a massive medal haul to comprehensively top the medal tally and fulfill a pre-Games promise.

Maharashtra walked away with the overall trophy for their haul of 85 gold, 62 silver and 81 bronze, totaling an impressive 228 medals. And as team officials and athletes received the trophy from Union Human Resources Minister Prakash Javadekar and Maharashtra Minister of Sports, Vinod Tawde, celebrations broke out in the packed galleries, assembled for the crisp closing ceremony.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Javadekar said the performances of the athletes at the Games had underlined the Prime Minister’s idea of “Five minutes more” for sports and that the Government was now determined to bring in a compulsory one-hour daily period for sports in every school across the country. His short speech was greeted with huge cheers and applause.

Maharashtra finished ahead of Khelo India School Games champions, Haryana, who were second with 62 gold, 56 silver and 60 bronze for a total of 178 meals, while Delhi were third with 48 gold, 37 silver and 51 bronze for a total of 136 medals.

With athletes packing the badminton hall at the Shree Shiv Chhattrapati Sports Complex, Ms. Neelam Kapur, Director General of the Sports Authority of India, welcomed the dignitaries, Mr. Javadekar, Mr. Tawde, Mr. Girish Bapat, State Cabinet Minister, Ms. Mukta Tilak, the Mayor of Pune, Mr. Rahul Bhatnagar, Secretary (Sports), Government of India, Ms. Vandana Krishna, ACS, Government of Maharashtra and Mr. Onkar Singh, Joint Secretary, Indian Olympic Association.

Ms Kapur pointed out that it was the effort of the Maharashtra Government and the hundreds of volunteers that had made the Games so successful. “KIYG 2019 had an approximate participation of 10,000 which comprised more than 5,925 athletes, 1,096 support staff, 893 technical officials, 36 chef-de-missions, 1010 volunteers and 1,500 officials. This was almost double in comparison to the approximate 5,500 participants in the KISG 2018.”

The three top States received their respective trophies, Delhi as second runners-up, Harayana as runners-up and finally, Maharashtra as champions. Action soon shifted off the stage to a special gallery that had a large number of the Maharashtra team waiting to receive the trophy, which reached them amidst blasts of confetti and streamers as the hall erupted yet again into cheers and chants.

Finally, it was time for congratulatory pats, selfies and hugs with the promise of better and more the next time round.