India has a rich heritage of indigenous sports and these games have huge popularity

Four indigenous games will be a part of the Khelo India Youth Games 2021 scheduled to be held in Haryana. The games include Gatka, Kalaripayattu, Thang-Ta and Mallakhamba, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports announced on Sunday.

The selected games represent different parts of the country.

Kalaripayattu has its origin from Kerala and has practitioners all over the world. Bollywood actor Vidyut Jammwal is one of the practitioners of the sports form.

Mallakhamb is well-known across India, with Madhya Pradesh as well Maharashtra being the hotspots of this sport.

Gatka, the traditional fighting style of the Nihang Sikh Warriors, originates from Punjab. It is used both as self-defense as well as a sport.

An art form from Manipur, Thang-Ta has passed into oblivion in recent decades. But the sport is set to get national recognition again at the Khelo India Youth Games 2021.

Pointing out that India had a rich heritage of indigenous sports, Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju said it was the ministry's priority to preserve, promote and popularise these games. He said the games have huge popularity and there is no better platform than the Khelo India Games where athletes of these disciplines can compete.

"I am confident 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. In the coming years we will be able to add more indigenous sports at the Khelo Games," Rijiju was quoted saying in a statement issued by the ministry.

“We are glad to know that the Sports Ministry has included Indian ancient martial art Gatka in the Khelo India Youth Games. We are sure that this effort of Khelo India will certainly help to promote and revive a forgotten Indian traditional martial art having a historical significance. In addition this step will give boost to the efforts of National Gatka Association of India in furtherance of creating awareness in the country as well as overseas,” said Harjeet Singh Grewal, President, National Gatka Association of India.

The Thang-Ta federation also confirmed that the competition will vastly popularize the sport. “Over 400 athletes from different States will participate in the competition. We want to be very successful in the competition and this will help us get more recognition nationally and internationally,” said Vinod Sharma, Secretary, Thang-Ta Federation of India.

(Source for all images: PIB)