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Union Minister Anurag Singh Thakur Launches Khelo India Rising Talent Identification Programme

Chandigarh: Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Anurag Singh Thakur, inaugurated the Khelo India Rising Talent Identification (KIRTI) programme at the Sector 7 sports complex in Chandigarh on Tuesday. The nationwide initiative, aimed at school children between nine and 18 years, seeks to identify talent from every corner of the country while simultaneously using sports as a tool to deter addiction to drugs and other distractions.

Under the bright sun, Minister Thakur underscored that KIRTI was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to cultivate a sports culture and create a talent pool capable of winning medals at global competitions like the Olympics and Asian Games.

KIRTI made a robust launch across 50 centres in India, assessing fifty thousand applicants in the first phase across 10 sports, including athletics, boxing, wrestling, hockey, and football. The programme aims to conduct 20 lakh assessments nationwide throughout the year to identify talent through notified Talent Assessment Centres.

Minister Thakur highlighted the critical role of youth as the building blocks of the nation and stressed the importance of starting early to achieve success in sports. He urged children to register through the MyBharat portal, expressing the government’s commitment to reaching out to every block in the country and providing opportunities through KIRTI.

The KIRTI programme adopts an athlete-centric approach, utilizing transparent selection methodology based on Information Technology. Artificial Intelligence-based data analytics are employed to predict the sporting acumen in aspiring athletes. Minister Thakur emphasized the need for tactical collaboration with National Sports Federations and state governments for a talent scouting system of this magnitude.

Member of Parliament Kirron Kher, Rajiv Verma (Advisor to the Chandigarh Administration), and javelin star Kishore Kumar Jena were present at the inauguration. Kher commended the KIRTI programme, citing the history of Chandigarh producing celebrity sportspersons like Kapil Dev, Yuvraj Singh, and Abhinav Bindra. She praised the initiative for bridging the gap between dreams and reality for children aspiring to excel in sports.

Several young boys and girls attended the selection process in Chandigarh, expressing enthusiasm and gratitude for the opportunities presented by KIRTI. Minister Thakur reiterated India’s aspiration to host the Youth Olympics in 2030 and the Summer Olympics in 2036, emphasizing the importance of showcasing and capitalizing on the soft power of sports for the country’s global stature.

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