The Sports Ministry has approved the inclusion of four indigenous Games to be a part of Khelo India Youth Games 2021, scheduled to take place in Haryana. The games include, Gatka, Kalaripayattu, Thang-Ta and Mallakhamba.
Speaking about the decision, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said, India has a rich heritage of indigenous sports and it is a priority for the Sports Ministry to preserve, promote and popularise these games. He said, there is no better platform than the Khelo India Games where athletes of these games can compete. The Minister said, the games have huge popularity and is telecast across the country by Star Sports. He expressed confidence that in the 2021 Khelo India Youth Games these four disciplines, along with Yogasana, will get their much deserved attention among sports enthusiasts and youth of the country. Mr Rijiju said, in the coming years we will be able to add more indigenous sports at the Khelo Games.
The four selected games represent different parts of the country. Kalaripayattu has its origin from Kerala and has practitioners all over the world. Mallakhamba has been well-known across India and Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have been the hotspots of this sport. Gatka originates from Punjab and this traditional fighting style of the Nihang Sikh Warriors is used both as self-defense as well as a sport. Thang-Ta, a Manipur marital art has passed into oblivion in the recent decades, but the sport will get national recognition again with the help of the Khelo India Youth Games 2021.