The fourth edition of the Khelo India Youth Games has been postponed as a precautionary measure against the strike of a possible third wave of COVID-19. The games were scheduled to held in Panchkula, Haryana in November 2021 this year, but rescheduled by the Haryana government keeping in mind the ongoing pandemic. This national-level competition for the under 18 years age group will now take place in February 2022.

According to TOI, this unanimous decision was taken in the meeting of the organising-cum-coordination committee held under the chairmanship of Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar. The minister cited the warnings of the director of All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), New Delhi and other healthcare experts, who have cautioned of a third wave of COVID-19 in the country in October-November. However, the Chief Minister also asked for holding talks with the Indian sports minister Anurag Thakur about hosting some events of the games in Himachal Pradesh.

The fourth edition of Khelo India Youth Games will feature 25 sporting disciplines, including five indigenous games which have been added for the first time. Around 8,500 players are expected to participate in the competition. The last edition of the Khelo India Youth Games was held in Guwahati, Assam in January 2020.

Being the country’s largest grassroots-level talent identification scheme especially in sports, the purpose of conducting the Khelo India Youth Games is to strengthen India’s sporting ecosystem whilst identifying and nurturing talents who have the potential to be podium finishers at major international competitions, including the Olympics. Athletes selected through the programme are given sizable annual scholarships and training aids.

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