Patna, Bihar, India:
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday inaugurated the 18th National Inter-District Junior Athletic Meet (NIDJAM), the world’s largest athletic talent search competition, at the Patliputra Sports Complex.
More than 6,000 players from 600 districts across the country are participating in the 18th NIDJAM. Welcoming all the players and the special guests present on the stage, the Arjuna Award and Olympic award winners, he said that it is a matter of great pleasure for us that such a large-scale sports championship is being held in Bihar for the first time. The Bihar government will not leave anything to chance in organising this event so that when the players leave, they have a positive impression of Bihar and want to return again and again, he added.
Kumar said that many things are being done for the development of sports and athletes in Bihar. A sports stadium is being built at the block level so that sports can be developed at the basic level and talented players, even from small places, can get a chance to play at the national level. So far, 221 stadiums have been built, and work is continuing on the rest. An international level cricket stadium is being built in Rajgir at a cost of Rs 740 crore and a sports university will also be built there, he added.
Encouraging the sportspersons, the Chief Minister said that we had started the work of giving government jobs to the sportspersons in the railway department in Atal ji’s government. So far 235 sportspersons have gotten government jobs in Bihar and now we want to say that in the coming time, the sportspersons of Bihar who will come after winning national and international medals will be directly reinstated in category one jobs.
In the inauguration ceremony, Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav encouraged the players and said that he too has been a player, so he will do everything possible for the development of sports and players in Bihar. A new sports policy has been prepared by the government for this, and the government is cooperating with it at every level.
Reiterating the commitment of the government to the development of sports and sportspersons, Minister of Art, Culture, and Youth Department, Jitendra Kumar Rai said that the government is doing everything possible to take Bihar’s sports heritage to new heights.
The President of Athletics Federation of India, Adille J. Sumariwala said that the 18th NIDJAM to be held in Bihar is the best ever and that the Bihar government is hosting it in a befitting manner. This event will also boost the spirits of the players of Bihar, and in the future they will be able to give better results at the national and international level.
At the beginning of the program, Bandana Preyshi, Secretary, Department of Art, Culture and Youth, welcomed everyone and said that the Bihar government is determined to save Bihar’s glorious heritage for the next generation and reach new heights in the fields of art, culture, and sports.
Raveendran Sankaran, Director General of the Bihar State Sports Authority, spoke about the authority’s accomplishments and the development of sports.
Neeraj Chopra, the gold medalist for the country in the Olympics, encouraged the players by joining them in the opening ceremony through videoconferencing from abroad. The event ended with a colourful programme by the artists and a firework display.
In the inauguration ceremony, Advisor to Chief Minister Anjani Kumar Singh, Chief Secretary Mr. Amir Subhani, Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. Anupam Kumar, Minister of Art, Culture and Youth Department Secretary Bandana Preyshi, Director General Bihar State Water Authority Shri Raveenndran Sankaran, Arjuna Awardee Anju Bobby George, Olympian Bahadur Singh and other dignitaries were also present.