On the occasion were Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Minister of State for Tourism Shripad Naik, Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Singh Thakur, and Goa Sports Minister Govind Gaude. At the 37th National Games opening ceremony on Thursday at Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Margao, Goa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a speech full of hope for the future of Indian sports.
In his speech, Prime Minister Modi outlined his vision for India’s rise to prominence in the global economy by 2036, along with the development of a growing middle class. He said he thought the Indian flag would make its way from space to the sports arena. “That’s why the Olympics will also become easier for us by then,” he added. Emphasising the abundance of sports talent in India, PM Modi said, “There is no shortage of sports talent in India; the country has produced many champions.” He took pride in the achievements of Indian athletes on the global stage, news agency ANI quoted him as saying.
At a time when Indian athletes are making history on the international arena, PM Modi recognized the importance of hosting the National Games. He emphasised the noteworthy tripling of the sports budget over the past nine years, which shows how committed the government is to the growth of sports in the nation. “We have brought about changes in schemes to provide financial incentives to sportspersons,” PM Modi stated. He emphasised that post-2014, the government has taken several initiatives to enhance the country’s sports infrastructure, improve the athlete selection process, and introduce financial schemes to support athletes. On the occasion were Goa Sports Minister Govind Gaude, Minister of State for Tourism Shripad Naik, Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Anurag Singh Thakur, and Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.
“Under the leadership of the prime minister, the sports culture in the country has undergone a sea change. With the help of continuous government support, the performance of athletes has witnessed tremendous improvement at the international level,” a government release earlier said. The National Games will be held in Goa for the first time. October 26 to November 9 is when the 37th National Games will take place. At 28 venues, more than 10,000 athletes will compete in more than 43 sports. Remarkably, women comprise 49% of all athletes. The five Goan cities of Mapusa, Margao, Panjim, Ponda, and Vasco will host the sporting events. But there will be cycling and golf competitions in New Delhi.
Many sports disciplines, including some that will be competing for the first time at a medal, will be featured at the 37th National Games. These consist of golf, beach football, roll ball, and various martial arts disciplines like pencak silat, sepak takraw, and sqay martial arts and Kalaripayattu. This year’s National Games will also see the debut of several other sports, including mallakhamb, yogasana, and kho. The 37th National Games will include a number of sports, including gymnastics, rowing, hockey, shooting, lawn tennis, table tennis, boxing, shooting, water polo, snooker, judo, and handball.