Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the second Khelo India Winter Games in Gulmarg via video conferencing on Friday.
The games will see 1,200 athletes from 27 states and Union Territories take part in the five-day event which will end on March 2.
In his virtual address, the PM said, "This is a step towards making India's presence felt in the international winter games arena and also make Jammu and Kashmir a hub of winter sports. These games will strengthen the resolve for Ek Bharat, Shreshth Bharat. I am told the participation has doubled this year and it is a reflection of the inclination towards winter sports in the country," he added.
Meanwhile, J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, and Union minister of state, youth services and sports Kiren Rijiju were present at the venue for the inauguration even as Gulmarg received fresh snowfall in the morning.
This year's Khelo India edition
This year's edition includes snowshoe race, ice skating, ice hockey, skiing, Nordic ski, snowboarding, ski mountaineering and ice stock. "Athletes from the Indian Army and the Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports will also participate in the event, besides the athletes from different states and Union Territories.
The event, organised by the ministry of youth affairs and sport in collaboration with the J&K sports council and Winter Games Association of J&K will see many cultural programmes besides stalls of ethnic food and local crafts.
"The administration has made all the arrangements and put in place all facilities in advance. A special team of doctors and ambulances will be available round the clock. A special team of the State Disaster Response Force shall remain deployed for relief and rescue operations," said the statement.
The Khelo India programme was "introduced to revive the sports culture in India at the grass-root level by building a strong framework for all sports played in our country and establish India as a great sporting nation," as per its website.
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