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PM Narendra Modi declares 36th National Games open in dazzling ceremony | More sports news

AHMEDABAD: The 36th National Games was inaugurated on Thursday evening by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a dazzling opening ceremony attended by more than 100,000 ecstatic spectators.
In keeping with the Olympic convention, but with a modern twist, Gujarat’s swimmer Maana Patel brought the symbolic Torch of Unity into the arena and presented it to the Prime Minister.

Watched and applauded by several current and past sporting icons, including Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra, Olympic medalists PV Sindhu, Ravi Dahiya, Mirabai Chanu, Gagan Narang, former national hockey captain and new HI chief Dilip Tirkey along with World Cup medalist Anju Bobby George, the Prime Minister placed the torch on the stage to illuminate it with augmented reality.

When the prime minister rose to speak, a roar echoed as loud as a thousand lions in the stadium, underscoring his continued popularity in the state.
“This view, this atmosphere cannot be described in words. In the world’s largest stadium, one of the world’s youngest countries is witnessing India’s largest sports festival,” he said.

“The country’s sports budget has increased by about 70 percent in the past 8 years. Until 8 years ago, Indian athletes participated in less than 100 international events. Now Indian players participate in more than 300 international events,” the Prime Minister added. .
The prime minister praised the theme behind the anthem of the Games, “Judega India, Jitega India”, and said the National Games would act as a launch pad for every young person.


(ANI photo)
Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel also welcomed the more than 7,000 athletes from “all over the country” on behalf of every Gujarati in the state and the world.
In keeping with a time-honored Olympic custom, ‘Ek Bharat’, a ceremonial march over, followed by the athletes from 36 states and Union Territories plus Services.
The biggest applause was for the 700-strong contingent of Gujarat, led by tennis star Ankita Raina, who also took the oath on behalf of all athletes.


(ANI photo)
The National Games, to be held after seven years, will witness India’s best athletes in 36 disciplines in six cities of Gujarat.
Although they started hosting World Cup-bound table tennis players on September 20, they will be up and running on Friday with nine disciplines kicking off and several top athletes competing.
Earlier, the Prime Minister opened the Swarnim Gujarat Sports Unity virtually through Augmented Reality, creating the stage for a stunning show.


(ANI photo)
A special performance featuring some of Gujarat’s traditional art forms at the beginning set the tone for the evening.
A tribute called ’20 years of vision, governance and leadership – Vande Gujarat!’ in the form of a Cultural Performance by 600 local artists and singers was one of the highlights of the evening.

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