Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Anurag Singh Thakur to inaugurate unique talent hunt event, KIRTI in Chandigarh

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Chandigarh, Mar 12, 2024, PIB

Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Anurag Singh Thakur to inaugurate unique talent hunt event, KIRTI in Chandigarh on Tuesday.Olympic and world javelin champion Neeraj Chopra has lauded the Union sports ministry’s initiative to launch the Khelo India Rising Talent Identification (KIRTI) programme, saying “that it could possibly provide the right balance between sports and studies.”Aimed at athletes in the age-group between nine to 18 years i.e. school-going age, KIRTI is an ambitious nation-wide programme under the Khelo India mission that attempts to identify talent from every nook and corner of the country by using IT tools and provide a common platform to showcase talent.The fundamental objective of KIRTI is to create a pyramidal structure starting from the grassroots level and culminating in the development of elite athletes for achieving excellence at international platforms. The Target Olympic Podium Scheme, which has two divisions – core and developmental – sits right at the top of the pyramid.Speaking to SAI, Chopra, who is currently in Turkey preparing for the 2024 Paris Olympics, said the entire Khelo India mission is pregnant with possibilities.“There cannot be a better opportunity than to ride all the Khelo India initiatives undertaken by the central government. Be it the Youth Games or the University Games, I understand these events are extremely well conducted and if our athletes are focused and can capitalize on the platforms provided, Indian sports can only go forward,” said Chopra.KIRTI aims to conduct 20 lakh assessments across the country throughout the year to identify talent through notified Talent Assessment Centres. A scouting and training programme at this scale is a first in India and comes at a time when India wants to gain the next level in global sports.Chopra is simply excited at the possibilities.“I am a glaring example. I started at 13-14 (years) and then climbed the ladder. That’s the time to convince children that one has to balance studies with sports activities. It’s a dual responsibility and it’s good to see the government coming forward to take care of the sports side of things. This is the change we need in India and grow the awareness on sports,” said Chopra.Taking the help of scientific tools, KIRTI will involve physical education teachers and experts in scouting talent. In the first phase, 10 Khelo India disciplines -- archery, athletics, boxing, football, hockey, kabaddi, kho-kho, volleyball, weightlifting and wrestling have been identified