Khelo India University Games: Papon To Perform At Opening Ceremony In Guwahati

Union sports minister Anurag Thakur and Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma will attend the opening ceremony of the Khelo India University Games 2023 in Guwahati on Monday, February 19. The event will go on till February 29

Khelo India
The Sarusajai Sports Complex in Guwahati getting ready for the Khelo India University Games 2023 Ashtalakshmi opening ceremony on February 19. Photo: Khelo India

Amidst a palpable buzz, Guwahati is getting ready to host the opening ceremony of the Khelo India University Games 2023 Ashtalakshmi. A land that has produced legendary musicians like Bhupen Hazarika and the popular Zubeen Garg, will see famous playback singer and composer Papon perform at the Sarusajai Sports Complex, Guwahati on February 19. The Games, being played across seven sister states of the North-East, will end on February 29. (More Sports News)

The Union minister of sports and youth affairs Anurag Singh Thakur will attend the Khelo India University Games (KIUG) alongside Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be inspiring the athletes through a video message. This is the fourth edition of the ever-growing Games. Close to 4,500 athletes from 200 universities are participating in KIUG 2023.

Angaraag Mahanta, who is popularly known as Papon, is expected to give KIUG 2023 Ashtalakshmi a rocking start. The 48-year-old, who can sing in many languages, is known for his fusion music. Papon has been a playback singer for several Bollywood blockbusters.

Assam’s sports and youth welfare minister, Nandita Garlosa said Papon’s inclusion will add glamour to the opening ceremony extravaganza. “Papon is a youth icon of India and Guwahati will listen to him live. We have had the greatest of musicians like Bhupen Hazarika but good music doesn’t understand any generation. Both Hazarika and Papon are unique in their own ways and not to forget Zubeen Garg,” said Garlosa.

The sports department of Assam is expecting a full house on February 19. “Of course, Papon will be a massive draw and we are getting ready to manage the expected 22,000 youngsters inside the stadium and give them a good time,” added Garlosa.

The grand opening of the Games, which will welcome all attendees free of charge, will also feature a thematic showcase highlighting the values of unity, diversity, and the spirit of sportsmanship. Additionally, the vibrant culture of Assam will take centre stage with captivating displays of indigenous arts, adding an extra layer of cultural immersion to the event.

Amongst the 200 universities, Panjab University, who have been a dominant force, are expected to face stiff competition from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. In the previous edition in Uttar Pradesh, the two universities were separated by a single medal.

At the fourth edition of the Games, Panjab University will be fielding the third strongest squad of 151 members, while Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar will have the largest contingent, comprising 238 members. Chandigarh University is sandwiched between the two with the second-biggest contingent of 165 athletes. Overall, 10 universities have a contingent size stretching to three digits.

Notably, the Khelo India University Games 2023 Ashtalakshmi commenced on Saturday with kabaddi matches at the Sarusajai Stadium. As many as eight teams divided into two pools are competing for glory.

The KIUG is a part of the Indian government’s Khelo India initiative that was launched in 2016. The Khelo India mission focuses on promoting grassroots sports and identifying young talent from across the country.