'Rubigula,’ the flame-throated bulbul, is the official mascot for the upcoming 36th National Games. (photo via twitter)

PANAJI (IANS) — Union Minister of State for Sports Kiren Rijiju and Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant Jan. 31 formally unveiled 'Rubigula,’ the flame-throated bulbul, as the official mascot for the upcoming 36th National Games. The flame-throated bulbul is also the state bird of Goa.

"The mascot incorporates the best elements and characteristics of Goa and the Goan people. It is another step forward for the preparations of the National Games and Rubigula will generate even more interest for these Games, especially among the young people," Sawant said at the unveiling ceremony held in Panaji.

The name for the mascot, 'Rubigula,’ was chosen after sports enthusiasts from across India were invited to submit their suggestions through a social media contest.

"It was the vision and dream of our late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to host the National Games in Goa. We are confident of successfully executing the event. We are on track to host the multi-discipline sporting event which will bring superlative talent from across India to the Goan turf," the Chief Minister said.

The latest edition of the Games is expected to witness over 12,000 participants from all states and Union Territories vying for top honors in 37 different disciplines. The Games were originally scheduled to be held in Goa in November 2016. The Games are now expected to begin on October 20 and conclude on November 4.

Speaking on the occasion, Rijuju said, "It has been an issue for all of us that India has not been able to have a regulated National Games, which is actually important for any nation, because the National Games are conducted under the aegis of the Indian Olympic Association, which follows the charter of the International Olympic Committee.”

"It was not a good thing for us that after long years, we are coming back to having National Games at a regular intervals."

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