The second edition of the Khelo India winter games started with a night skiing event in Jammu and Kashmir’s Gulmarg. The event aimed to promote adventure tourism and attract skiing lovers to Gulmarg. The Night skiing event was an advance exercise of the Khelo India Winter Games which started on Friday. Around 1,200 athletes from different parts of the country are participating in the five-day long ‘Khelo India National Winter Games’.
“In Gulmarg, skiing happens every day. But night skiing is very attractive both to tourists and locals. Gulmarg will be more famous as a winter destination which will boost employment opportunities here. More of such events are necessary,” said Irshad Ahmad Dar a local. Mohamad Yousuf, General Secretary of Winter Games Association J-K said, “Night skiing is organised as a demonstration of the winter games. Night skiing is a beautiful sight to watch, It has been going on for a long time, but from last year the program got a lot of promotion.”
“We are happy that Khelo India is being conducted here for the second time. More people are knowing about Gulmarg and coming here. All hotel rooms are booked,” he further said. Gul Mustafa Dev, a renowned skier said, “Tourists are mesmerised by the night skiing as this is a rare sight. Even for locals, this is a rare sight because night skiing happens in Gulmarg only during such major events. In future, we want to do night skiing if floodlights are set up in the area.”
He also said that snow covered areas has reduced a bit due to a rise in temperature. Kiren Rijiju Minister of State for the Ministry Of Youth Affairs and Sports said, “We have a lot of talent in sports in our country, but they were not given an opportunity. The situation has changed after the launch of Khelo India. Kashmir is naturally suited to organise winter games. Announcements will be made in coming days about making Khelo India bigger .”
Lieutenant Governor of J-K Manoj Sinha said, “Youth engagement particularly through the medium of sports is our priority area. Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power great infrastructural support was given to sports in the state.” ‘Khelo India Winter Games’ is being organised by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in collaboration with the J-K Sports Council and the Winter Games Association of J-K. The games include snowshoe race, ice skating, ice hockey, skiing, nordic skiing, snowboarding, ski mountaineering and ice stock.