Guwahati (Assam) [India], February 13 (ANI): As Assam gears up to host the fourth edition of the Khelo India University Games (KIUG) 2023, from February 19, former youth world boxing champion Ankushita Boro is optimistic about the prospects of state's young athletes gaining a lot of exposure from the marque tournament.

Ankushita, who pocketed the gold medal when Assam last hosted the Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG) in 2020, rated her performance as a career-changing one, especially after experiencing a dip in performance following her 2017 youth world crown.

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"I will always remember the Khelo India Youth Games in Guwahati, where I picked the gold medal, it was sort of a fresh start for me in terms of performance. From my personal experience, I can say that the Khelo India platform has brought in a fierce competitive spirit right from the under-18 days," she said.

"I'm sure this edition of the Khelo India University Games will be no different. There will be almost 4,500 athletes from across 200 universities battling for glory. There will be mouthwatering inter-university rivalries, inter-state face-offs (athletes of one state facing off against each other's universities), which will make it all the more exciting," she added.

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Ankushita, one of the beneficiaries of the government's Integrated Sports Policy, was last year appointed in Class III post under the Directorate of Sports & Youth Welfare after returning with a gold medal from the 36th National Games in Gujarat.

Appreciating the state government's commitment for sports, the ace pugilist said, "The government has been very supportive for sportspersons, and has walked the talk when it comes to providing jobs under the policy. This has encouraged players from less privileged families to dream about a career in sports for a secured future."

Ankushita, who hails from Meghai Jarani village in Sonitpur district, also spoke highly of the support received at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Golaghat during her early days. "There are a number of athletes from SAI Golaghat, who have brought laurels to the state and the country. I will forever be grateful to the centre for shaping my career during my formative years."

Expressing her confidence in the successful conduct of the forthcoming Khelo India University Games, Ankushita said that previous experiences of hosting such big ticket events successfully will make the job easier."Assam has successfully hosted such big-ticket events in the past, and this time, I am sure the state government will be committed to make it even better. If we speak of the sports infrastructure in Assam, we are in no way less than any sporting powerhouses of the country."

"The recently launched National Centre of Excellence in Amingaon is a world-class facility for badminton players, for boxers we have a number of great training facilities across the city, and the state in general. For other sports too, the infrastructure is equally good, and hosting such events will further boost it," she cited.

Welcoming the participants of the KIUG 2023, the 2022 Asian championship bronze medallist said, "It also gives the participants a very good chance to experience Assam and the Northeast, offering a wide range of ethnic cuisines, music, natural beauty and wildlife."(ANI)

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