Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], January 31: Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur handed the trophies to the winners of the Khelo India Youth Games at the closing ceremony of Tamil Nadu in Chennai on Wednesday. Dayanidhi Maran, Member of Parliament (Central Chennai), and Udyanidhi Stalin, Tamil Nadu Minister of Youth Welfare and Sports Development were also present during the event. Palak Ashutosh Joshi Breaks Her Own National Record to Win Gold Medal in Women's 200m Backstroke Event at Khelo India Youth Games 2023.

Maharashtra finished in the top position with a total of 158 medals (57 gold, 48 silver, 53 bronze) while Tamil Nadu and Haryana took the 2nd and 3rd positions respectively, bagging 98 medals (38 gold, 21 silver, 39 bronze) and 103 medals (35 gold, 22 silver, 46 bronze).

During the event, Anurag Thakur hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's contribution to the development of the youth in sports and said, "The Khelo India Games envisioned by PM Modi is the embodiment of his interest in harnessing the power of the youth and giving them a platform to showcase their talent."

"PM has constantly supported the youth, be it attending the opening ceremony of the Khelo India Youth Games in Tamil Nadu despite being on a fast for the Ram Mandir rituals or visiting Nashik for Youth Programmes during the same time so as to motivate them. His constant interaction with athletes before, during and after tournaments has been a key reason for their heightened confidence on the field," he added.

The KIYG saw total participation at the games was 7234 including athletes, technical officials, volunteers and other faculty. Anurag Thakur talked about the growing stature of sports with each KIYG tournament and said, "With every Khelo India Youth Games, we have grown in stature. It is with immense pride I mention that 4454 young athletes across 26 competitive sports from 36 States/UTs battled it out for glory, fueled by their athletic zeal and the unwavering spirit of sportsmanship. There was almost equal representation at the games with 2307 male athletes and 2147 female athletes competing."

"PM Modi has envisioned that India will become the next sporting superpower in the world and the way the sports eco-system is evolving every passing day is a testament to this transformation," he added. The KIYG tournament saw a total of 30 overall meet records and national youth records have been created in this edition of the games.

In athletics, eight records were created while in weightlifting, 22 records were set. While athletes from Haryana made seven records, Maharashtra made a total of six. Out of seven, Sanjana of Haryana created five records in the 76kg weightlifting division while Keerthana of Tamil Nadu made 3 records in the 81kg weightlifting division. Aarti Tatguni of Maharashtra also created three records in the 49kg weightlifting division.

Swimmer Vritti Agarwal of Telangana meanwhile became one of the best athletes of the games, winning a total of five gold medals in events which included, 200m butterfly, 1500m freestyle, 800m freestyle, 400m freestyle and 200m freestyle.

"Also, there is hardly any infrastructure in some of the small towns of the country but from here onwards, SAI will take utmost care of them. Durga Singh of Bihar shattered the 1500m Games record. She would run in the wide open spaces around the fields in her remote village of Belwa Thakurai in the Gopalganj district of Bihar. In an area with little sporting background, Durga's father Shambhu Sharan Singh, a wheat farmer, was the only person who encouraged her," Anurag said.

"Weightlifter Jyoshna Sabar rose from poverty in remote Odisha village to shatter the national record. The 15-year-old daughter of a small-time farmer father and homemaker mother has risen from this impoverished background to become one of India's leading junior weightlifters. After winning bronze at the World Youth Championships in Albania last year, she shattered the national snatch record on her way to the gold medal in the 40kg category," Anurag added.

"The stories that unfolded on these fields were not confined to victory laps. Every single athlete had a story and this reminded us that talent knows no boundaries," Anurag stated.

The games also featured 23 prominent athletes who have participated in major international competitions, from Aditi Gopichand Swami in Archery to L Dhanush in Weightlifting. While Aditi won two medals, including one gold, at the Hangzhou Asian Games last year, Dhanush of Tamil Nadu has a bronze in his kitty from the IWF World Youth Championships in Durres, Albania, last year. Khelo India Youth Games 2023: Wrestler Janvi’s Training Module Includes Playing Shaankh and Grooving on DJ Music.

"I feel immense pride and optimism from what we've seen in this past 13 days of the Khelo India Youth Games in Tamil Nadu. The games have been a glorious testament to the talent, dedication, and indomitable spirit of our youth. I have witnessed displays of athletic prowess, sportsmanship, and camaraderie that leave me deeply inspired," Anurag said.

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