Bhubaneswar, June 9: The first Janjatiya Khel Mahotsav kicked off at KIIT DU with great enthusiasm on Friday. This grand sporting extravaganza, set to conclude on June 12, has attracted the participation of approximately 5,000 tribal athletes and 1,000 officials hailing from 26 states. Promoting traditional sports and tribal culture, this unique event is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Culture and the Odisha Government.
The opening ceremony was graced by Odisha Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal, Union Education, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Hockey India President Dilip Tirkey, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Culture Uma Nanduri, and the esteemed Founder of KIIT and KISS, Dr Achyuta Samanta.
For KIIT, this event holds immense significance as its sister organization, KISS, provides free education to tribal children and has empowered countless tribal communities. In addition to the thrilling games, cultural activities will also be conducted throughout the festival. The event mascot, Bheema, was unveiled during this momentous occasion.
During his address, the Governor emphasized the divinity of sports, highlighting the role of sports and yoga in building bridges. He noted that sports not only contribute to spiritual enlightenment but also provide peace of mind.
The Education Minister said, the Narendra Modi government has paid substantial attention in promotion of sports, incorporating it into the curriculum under the National Education Policy of 2020, wherein students can earn credit points. He commended the tribal communities for their remarkable presence in Indian sports, with 85 out of 100 athletes hailing from tribal backgrounds.
The President of Hockey India expressed his delight at providing a unique opportunity for 5,000 tribal participants to play together.
The Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, in charge of the Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav, shared that this initiative has witnessed over 200,000 programs across the country, setting a record globally. She stated that when the Janjatiya Khel Mahotsav was conceived in January of this year under the inspiration of the Prime Minister, KIIT and KISS were the natural choices to host the event.
Dr. Samanta, in his speech, emphasized the special and unique nature of the event, highlighting its intersection of sports and culture, tribal communities and sports, and the fusion of tradition and modernity. He emphasized that these three elements are being seamlessly implemented through the games.