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Gulmarg all set to host 4th edition of Khelo India from Wednesday

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Around 800 athletes, officials from 20 States, UTs to participate in the event; Sachin Tendulkar conveys best wishes to organisers

SRINAGAR: The famous winter destination of Gulmarg is yet again all set to host the 4th edition of Khelo India beginning February 21.

Around a thousand athletes, officials, and support staff shall participate in various winter sporting events including Snowboarding, Alpine Ski, Nordic Ski and Snow Mountaineering. Twenty states and Union Territories are competing in the Alpine Ski, Nordic Ski, and Snowboarding while ten states are competing in the Ski Mountaineering competitions.

The event, which is being organized by the Department of Youth Services & Sports & J&K Sports Council in collaboration with the Tourism Department, Gulmarg Development Authority and other stakeholder Departments, will kick-start with the launch of the mascot while the anthem and the customised apparel of the 4th edition of Khelo India Winter Games will be on the similar lines of the Khelo India Games held in the other parts of the country.

The idea behind choosing Snow Leopard as the mascot of the Khelo India Winter Games by the J&K Sports Council is to address the high[1]mountain development issues of the natives, and its fragile environment as well as to highlight the importance of conservation efforts to protect the natural habitat of this beautiful big cat and ensure its survival for future.

Meanwhile, all logistic arrangements like accommodation, transport, etc for the athletes and officials have been worked out by the organizers and final touches are being given on the spot.

Secretary of Youth Services & Sports, Sarmad Hafeez held a series of meetings in this regard in the past few days with representatives of line Departments while Secretary of J&K Sports Council, Nuzhat Gull has been overseeing the finalization of arrangements at the spot.

Cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar who was on a visit to Kashmir conveyed his best wishes to J&K Sports Council for organizing the sporting event. In his message, he advised the participant athletes to enjoy the game and make their stay here memorable.

The inaugural and closing ceremonies will be marked by scintillating cultural performances by local artists depicting the cultural tapestry of the region. On February 20, a special cultural evening has been planned which shall be attended by the participating athletes and officials and visiting tourists besides local people.

It may be mentioned here that J&K so far has hosted all three editions of Khelo India here with the number of participants swelling considerably as athletes from across the country are now thronging the snow-clad Gulmarg to participate in sports extravaganza. The yearly event has given a major push to winter tourism in J&K besides promoting the local culture and cuisine.

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