Chandigarh, May 30 (IANS) Gujarat announced their biggest contingent of 143 athletes for the upcoming Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG) in Haryana, hoping to dramatically increase their medal tally.
Gujarat will be competing in 18 sports disciplines and are targeting medals in swimming, tennis, table tennis, volleyball, judo and weightlifting. The state has been investing heavily to climb up the ladder and had even bagged 16 gold medals to finish ninth in the last edition in Guwahati.
“We are coming with our biggest contingent ever for the Khelo Games and there is no doubt that our first target is to surpass our medal tally,” Gujarat’s Chef de Mission Vismay Vyas said.
“We also have a strong team in Gatka and Mallakhamb, two sports which are being introduced this year,” Vyas said, adding that the entire contingent was looking forward to the Games.
Unlike the earlier editions, the preparatory camps for some sports disciplines were disrupted due to the Khel Mahakumbh, organised across the state, but Vyas felt it was not a cause of concern.
“Some players had to come and go from the camps due to Khel Mahakumbh. But that also means they are quite match-fit,” he added.
West Bengal hope to make a bigger splash in KIYG
West Bengal are aiming to make a bigger splash at the Khelo India Youth Games 2021, not only in swimming which has been their forte, but in a few other disciplines as well.
The Eastern state has been steadily improving, recording continuous improvement in their rankings, the number of gold and also their overall tally. They engineered a spike in their rankings from 10th to 8th over the three successive editions and their overall medal tally from 15 in 2018 to 53 in 2020, including 19 gold.
“We have worked hard and the players are coming in straight from the camps. We have improved a lot and hope to get more medals this time. We will also strive to improve our ranking,” said chef de mission Shambhu Seth, who is also a senior official of the Wushu Association of West Bengal.
West Bengal will be sending a contingent of 185 athletes, among whom are 45 swimmers, and 47 support staff. They will take part in 16 disciplines (including three indigenous ones — thang-ta, yogasana and kho kho) — and hope to generate good returns in swimming, gymnastics, table tennis, which have been their traditional strengths, and football (boys). The state is also fielding teams in handball, volleyball (girls) and kho-kho (boys and girls).
Swadesh Mondal, who has been making waves in the pool over the previous editions and hopes to compete in the 2024 Olympics, will lead the Bengal charge. He will feature in five events, the 50, 100 and 200 m breaststroke, and the 200 and 400m individual medley.
“We are hoping for at least 12 gold in swimming,” Seth said.
He has also singled out 19-year-old shooter Srinjoy Datta (10M rifle) as a gold medal prospect.