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KISG to feature World championship medallists
New Delhi, Jan 22: World junior champion shooter Anish Bhanwala (Haryana) and IWF World Youth Weightlifting Championships silver medallist Jeremy Lalrinnunga (Mizoram) will be among the many talented athletes taking part in the inaugural Khelo India School Games (KISG) beginning here on January 31.
Anish Bhanwala, 15, won gold in the 25 metre standard pistol competition in the ISSF Junior World Championship in Suhl, Germany, in July last year.
Mizoram's 15-year-old Jeremy Lalrinnunga, who trains at the Army Boys Sports Company in Pune, won silver in the IWF World Junior Championships in Bangkok in April last.
Andhra Pradesh recurve archer Bommadevara Dhiraj, fresh from winning five gold medals in the SGFI National competition in Ahmedabad last month, will be another high-profile competitor.
As many as 3298 nominations have been received by the KISG organising committee. Eventually, as many as 4452 athletes and officials from 36 states and union territories are expected to feature in the 16 disciplines in which competitions will be held as the first step in the seamless journey from school to Olympic Games.
Archery, athletics, badminton, boxing, gymnastics, judo, shooting, swimming, weightlifting and wrestling are the 10 disciplines featuring individual competitors while basketball, football, hockey, kabaddi, kho-kho and volleyball are the six team sports that are part of the inaugural KISG.
Most confirmations have been received from Delhi (341) and Maharashtra (321). Haryana, which will end up with the most entries in the Khelo India School Games with 350, is in the process of finalising its nominations.
Expectedly, athletics will have the largest participation, with 640 boys and girls vying for 36 gold medals. Swimming will feature 592 competitors seeking to claim the 35 gold medals that are up for grabs. There is a total of 197 gold medals in the inaugural edition of the Khelo India School Games.
Not surprisingly, wrestling (30 gold medals) takes the third spot with 480 grapplers while boxing (26 gold medals) is the other sport in which more than 400 participants are expected to vie for honours.
Gymnastics, whose popularity is on the rise in the wake of Dipa Karmakar's spectacular showing in the 2016 Rio Olympics, will have 84 competitors.