Amidst a palpable buzz, Guwahati is poised to host the grand opening ceremony of the fourth edition of the Khelo India University Games 2023 Ashtalakshmi. Amplifying the glitz and glamour, Assam’s internationally acclaimed musical sensation, Papon, is all set to grace the opening ceremony on February 19 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Sarusajai Sports Complex, Guwahati.

Known for his melodious voice, the performance promises an unforgettable musical extravaganza for the audience and participants alike.

Union minister of sports and youth affairs Anurag Singh Thakur will be attending the Khelo India University Games alongside Assam chief minister Himata Biswa Sarma.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be inspiring the athletes through a video message. This is the fourth edition of the ever-growing games. Close to 4500 athletes from 200 universities are participating in KIUG 2023.

Assam’s sports and youth welfare minister Nandita Gorlosa said Papon’s inclusion will add glamour to the opening ceremony extravaganza.

The opening of the games, which will welcome all attendees free of charge, will also feature a thematic showcase highlighting the values of unity, diversity, and the spirit of sportsmanship. Additionally, the vibrant culture of Assam will take centre stage with captivating displays of indigenous arts, adding an extra layer of cultural immersion to the event.

The KIUG will feature 20 sports disciplines over the next fortnight with competitions being held in 18 venues across Guwahati and six other Northeastern cities.

Accordingly, Guwahati will host a total of 16 disciplines during the Khelo India University Games 2023. This will include an array of events including athletics, rugby, basketball, volleyball, swimming, badminton, hockey, fencing, kabaddi, women’s football, tennis, mallakhamb, judo and table tennis

Dibrugarh University has the largest contingent from Assam with six members while Manipur University with 19 athletes has the highest representation from the Northeast region.

The Khelo India University Games 2023 Ashtalakshmi commenced on February 16 with kabaddi at the Sarusajai Stadium.  As many as eight teams divided into two pools are competing for glory.

The KIUG is a part of the Indian government’s Khelo India initiative that was launched in 2016. The Khelo India mission focuses on promoting grassroots sports and identifying young talents from across the country.

On the opening day, Bhagat Pool Singh Mahila University made a winning start to their campaign after edging past GKU by four points in their Pool A fixture. In another women’s Pool A contest, Kurukshetra University and Lalit Narayan Mithila University recorded a stunning draw as both sides went neck and neck till the end.

In the men’s section, Mangalore University and Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak began with triumphs over Shri JJT University, Jhunjhunu and the University of Kota, respectively by 11 points and 1 point, in their Pool A contests. In Pool B, Vels Institute of Technology and Advanced Studies recorded a narrow win over Guru Kashi Punjab University by a solitary point.

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