chirag shetty

Indian shuttler Chirag Shetty echoed positive thoughts on the government's efforts to host the Khelo India University Games. (IANS photo)

NEW DELHI (IANS) — Indian shuttler Chirag Shetty echoed positive thoughts on the government's efforts to host the Khelo India University Games. He also emphasized how any championship that promotes sports at the grassroots level should be encouraged, as they provide a stage for youngsters to express themselves and eventually represent the country.

The first edition is being organized by the Government of Odisha in association with the Sports Authority of India, Association of Indian Universities, National Sports Federation, the Indian Olympic Association  and the participating universities. The games are slated to take place in Bhubaneswar from Feb. 22 to March 1.

"I think there are plenty of national-level prospects that can be tapped from the Khelo India University Games. If the deserved candidates can be helped with scholarships, nutrition and the right kind of guidance, we can create a strong pool of athletes who could eventually go on to represent India in the international circuit" said the 22-year-old.

"Plus I feel it's important for families to understand that sports can be a career for their kids and they need to be supported in order to make it big in their choice of sport."

Shetty, who has previously taken part in the National University championships, feels that athletes will gather a lot of exposure from the Khelo India University Games and they can test the waters on where they stand nationally.

"University games are a massive grassroots level competition in the western countries, they act as a breeding ground to tap talented athletes and nurture them for the future. I would like to thank the government for coming up with the Khelo India University games initiative, which I am sure is certain to revolutionize the sporting culture in the country," said the shuttler.

Chirag, who competed in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast and won a gold in the mixed team event and silver in the men's doubles event, feels the two Olympic medals in badminton have changed the scenario for badminton in the country

"Badminton is currently the second most popular sport in the country after cricket, the meteoric rise of the sport is courtesy of the medals won by Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu at the Olympics. They have been the biggest motivation which the sport in our country needed and now everyone who wants to take up badminton professionally believes that it is possible," signed off Chirag.

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