Mallakhamb hogs limelight in KIUG opening gala

Express News Service

BENGALURU:  For a start, there was a pleasant surprise. The Khelo India University Games opening ceremony started a couple of minutes before the scheduled 4 pm at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday. Before the second edition was declared open by vice president, M Venkaiah Naidu, all the speeches from the who’s who at the venue, including sports minister Anurag Thakur, state chief minister Basavaraj Bommai and state sports minister KC Narayana Gowda praised the facilities in Bengaluru, which will host the event. Ace India swimmer Srihari Nataraj, who will represent Jain University, took oath on behalf of all athletes.  

“All our lives were affected by Covid and we had to wait nearly two years to return with KIUG. After two years, it is the first opportunity for us to assemble together for the University Games and I see a similar passion among the youngsters this time around. I visited the hosts, Jain University, and met athletes. I was also very happy to see that facilities for the Games there, which are truly one of the best in the world,” said Thakur. 

However, it was the second half of the show, which got major attention with the edge-of-the-seat Mallakhamb moves stealing the limelight. It involved boys of different age groups performing some acrobatic aerial gymnastic postures on a pole, which required a lot of body strength.

Such was the performance of the 25 plus performers, everyone at the stadium, including the ministers on the dais, stood up to give a standing ovation for their stunning performances. The sport of Mallakhamb already started on Saturday at the Jain University Global Campus, which will host the majority of the disciplines.   “This edition of Khelo India will also feature indigenous sports such as Yogasana and Mallakhamb, and it is heartening to see. It is of utmost importance for us to promote and preserve our indigenous sports which are rooted in our culture, and a matter of pride for us,” said Naidu.

Besides, stunning performances depicting the rich culture of the state and the country were also well received by the audience while the KIUG anthem composed by pop icon Chandan Shetty added energy. The evening was capped off with popular youth artists Kings United performing some acrobatic moves.

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