Khelo India University Games perfect initiative to drive sporting culture amongst youth, says star shooter Abhishek Verma
He is an ace shooter who won men’s 10 meter air pistol T2 event at national trials
New Delhi: Ace shooter Abhishek Verma who won the men’s 10 meter air pistol T2 event at the national trials that are being held in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on Wednesday, spoke at length about the prospects of Khelo India University Games and the impact that it is going to have in the grassroots setup. The first edition is being organized by the Government of Odisha in association with the Sports Authority of India, Association of Indian Universities, National Sports Federation and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and participating universities. The games are slated to take place in Bhubaneshwar from 22 February to 1 March, 2020 to unearth more talent for the Olympics.
"I think this is the best thing to have happened for grassroots level sports in our country, previously there was a national university championship that used to take place but no one was aware of it. Firstly with Khelo India Youth Games and now with the Khelo India University games taking place I think we finally have a system coming in place which provides a professional competition space for all aspiring athletes of our country, " said the 30-year-old.
“The level of completion is much higher at university level championships as they are vying to bring top glory for their respective institutes. Championships like these also let you reflect on your own performance and prepare yourself better for the World University Games” said Abhishek who started his shooting career with the national university championship.
Abhishek said it is very important that parents encourage their children to take up sports and support them in their endeavor of becoming an athlete.
"Parents play a huge role in building their children's careers who are aspiring to pursue professional sports. With the government coming up with initiatives like the Khelo India University games, I feel it is essential for parents to understand that it shouldn’t only be about studies and a career in sports is very much a realistic thought," said the shooter.
Verma, who has managed to book an Olympic berth for India at the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics has continued his form from 2019. He won two World Cup gold medals, one each at the Beijing and the Rio de Janeiro World Cup. The gold at Beijing helped him to seal a quota for India in the men’s 10m air pistol event for the 2020 Summer Games. However, it doesn't mean that Verma has been selected in the Indian shooting contingent for the Olympics. The Indian shooting team for the quadrennial event will be selected in the next few months.
"Abhinav Bindra’s gold medal in shooting completely transformed the shooting landscape in our country. It gave that confidence to many aspiring shooters like me that I too can perform well in the sport and get a medal for my country. I am working really hard towards honing my skills and giving my best shot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics," signed off Verma.