A glittering closing ceremony drew curtains on yet another memorable edition of the Khelo India University Games 2021 which witnessed the country’s young and aspiring athletes use the platform to bring laurels to their respective universities on May 3 in Bengaluru.
Union Minister for Home Affairs and Cooperation, Amit Shah, chief guest for the closing ceremony, presented the overall champion’s title to hosts Jain Deemed-to-be University who ended their campaign with an impressive 20 gold, 7 silver, and 5 bronze medals. Lovely Professional University, Punjab won 17 gold medals, 15 silver, and 19 bronze. Defending Champions Panjab University finished third in the medal tally with 15 gold, 9 silver, and 24 bronze medals.
They ended up with 20 golds, three more than their closest competitors Lovely Professional University (17 gold, 15 silver, 19 bronze). While LPU ended up with the most medals of any university in the competition, their gold deficit saw them lose the title to the hosts. Defending champions Panjab University finished third (15 gold, 9 silver, 24 bronze).
The Games were also a great example of the growth and improvement in this level of competition since its last edition. In total 97KIUG records were broken or equalled at KIUG 2021. A mind boggling 42 were in weightlifting, 28 came in the pool, while 23came in athletics. Two national records were also broken in the competition — Siva Sridhar setting a new mark in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley and MT Ann Mariya breaking the clean and jerk record in the women’ weightlifting +87kg class.
Sridhar was the runaway athlete of the Games, winning 7 golds and two silvers in the competition. The swimmer also set a new KIUG mark with each gold he won in the pool. Swimmer Shrungi Bandekar four gold and one silver make her the most successful female athlete at the games. Priya Mohan’s 200m, 400m double secured her spot as the most dominant athlete on the track.
Also present during the star-studded closing ceremony was Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, Chief Minister of Karnataka Basavaraj Bommai, Minister for State, Youth Affairs and Sports and Home Affairs Shri Nisith Pramanik.
The presence of the Indian Men and Women’s Hockey teams who had a historic outing in the Tokyo Olympic Games was a highlight of the evening, and the two teams were felicitated by the Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah. Sandalwood cine icon Kicha Sudeep too graced the occasion.
Crediting the performances of the country’s youth brigade, Shah, who released the coffee table book on Khelo India University Games prepared by AlU, said, “I congratulate all the Universities and the athletes who participated at the Khelo India University Games 2021. All the athletes who participate are deserving of applause.Winning or losing is part and parcel of sports. But to compete in sports is the more important thing. Since 2014, PM Narendra Modi made a mission of his life to make India the No. 1 nation in every area, including sports. He never worried about problems, but planned, worked hard, and found ways to bring results. In sports, PM Modi took a series of initiatives, and today, we can see the beautiful result of the same initiatives.”
Congratulating the efforts of all participating athletes and the hosts Jain University, Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports , Anurag Singh Thakur said: “Khelo India University Games, Fit India, and Khelo India Youth Games are the result of PM Modi’s vision. I am glad we made the decision to host the 2nd edition of the Khelo India University Games in Bengaluru this year. I can say with utmost pride that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the KIUG 2021 has been an outstanding and very successful event. The athletes here broke 2 National Records and 76 previous records of University Games this year.”
Commending the efforts of the state government and Jain University, Chief Minister of Karnataka Basavaraj Bommai after the launch of the postal cover of Khelo India Youth Games 2021, said, “Sports are natural aspects of human beings. It shows and forms the character of all the humans. It teaches a person the importance of sportsmanship. You have to play to win and not to lose. You should not be afraid. We should not have fear of losing but willing to win. Prime Minister Narendra Modi came with the vision of Khelo India. Sports have the power to change the direction of the country and I urge all the youths in India to bring glory to the nation.”