The third edition of the Khelo India Youth Games came to a close on Wednesday with a colourful ceremony, with Maharashtra being adjudged as the champion team with 256 medals, including 78 golds. After 13 days of intense competition, Maharashtra won its second Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG) trophy in a row by grabbing 78 gold, 77 silver and 101 bronze medals. Haryana came second with 200 medals (68 gold, 60 silver, 72 bronze), followed by Delhi at third with 122 medals (39 gold, 36 silver, 47 bronze).
"You made us proud. You made Guwahati and Assam famous in the world map by coming and joining the Khelo India Youth Games. I thank you from the core of my heart," Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said during the closing ceremony.
"Our target is Olympic podium. We want to achieve maximum number of medals in Olympics and that is the aim of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he added.
Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said, "I am confident that from among this year's winners will emerge our future champions who will represent India at international events and even at the Olympics, in the 2024 and 2028 Olympics. Our motto has been to provide the best facilities and a world class experience to athletes at the Khelo India Games."
During ceremony, Assam showcased its rich cultural heritage in a crisp and beautiful show, led by a Modern Creative Dance performance by Aimee Baruah, directed by Asim.
Before a range of local performers hit the stage, Chinese martial artists mesmerized the audience with their speed, power and elegance. They were specially flown in to mark the 70th year of the India-China friendship.
Performances by Tarulata Kutum with Missing Dancers, Sajan Nayak with Jhumuir Dancers and a solo by Babita Sharma set the mood for the evening. Popular Assamese singer Jitul Sonowal too charmed everybody with his mellifluous songs.
In between, Krishnamoni Chutiya performed the Bihu Song which was beautifully choreographed by Pankaj Engiti, to the delight of the local fans.
The evening was topped up by a live concert by Bollywood singing star Shaan. The playback singer got the audience, including the athletes, on their feet as he belted out a series of his hit numbers.
Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Union Minister of State for Food Processing Rameswar Teli were also present during the closing ceremony.
Close to 6,800 athletes from 37 states and union territories competed across 20 sports disciplines in Khelo India Youth Games, which began on January 10.