Virtual world infuses with humans

Kirti Patil
Thursday, 10 January 2019

The athletes will compete in 18 different disciplines, of which six are team sports at the second edition of the Games

Pune: The tech capital of Maharashtra dished out a dazzling display of its capability of mixing the virtual world with flesh and blood as Pune played out an outstanding performance for 3000-odd athletes and guests at the Opening Ceremony of the Khelo India Youth Games 2019 at the Balewadi Sports Complex here on Wednesday.

Tradition was mixed with the modern day affinity towards technology that encompasses our life on a daily basis as performers enthralled the august audience with a performance that would be remembered for years as it paled many other Opening Ceremonies witnessed in the recent past.

There was a splash of gripping culture and famously colourful outlook to life and off course the unending stories of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj narrated through a light and sound show with real life actors playing out their part with technology providing an immaculate and just backdrop to their performance.

The performances followed after the Union Sports Minister Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore read out the pledge for all the participating athletes and then he joined Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to receive the virtual torch before handing it over to the chosen young athletes who lighted up the virtual cauldron.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message, exhorting participants to take the Games theme of “Paanch Minute Aur” (#5MinuteAur) for sports to heart in making a healthy and wholesome lifestyle their own was then read out.

A host of eminent sportspersons and coaches of note including two-time Olympic wrestling medallist Sushil Kumar, Olympian hockey winners Gurbux Singh and Ajit Pal Singh, badminton legend P Gopichand, shooter Gagan Narang, athletes Sriram Singh and Shiny Wilson, gymnasts Dipa Karmakar and Ashish Kumar and legendary woman footballer Bem Bem Devi were present.

Over 400 youth and children helped make the occasion memorable, presenting acts that included a skit on Shivaji’s childhood, demonstrations of yoga and the indigenous sport malkhamb.

The event officially kicked off the 12-day extravaganza for the 6,000-plus Under-17 and Under-21 athletes who will compete in 18 disciplines including athletics, badminton, boxing, hockey, football and wrestling, among which competition in hockey, gymnastics, wrestling and weightlifting are already under way.

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