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The Indian government laid down a terrific platform for athletes below the age of 21 to showcase their skills at the Khelo India Youth Games. After successfully conducting three editions of the competition, the Sports Ministry is looking to unearth more talent at the university level through the Khelo India University Games. The tournament will be held in Odisha from 22 February to 1 March 2020.
When asked about which university would pose a threat in the competition, most athletes said that they are expecting a tough challenge from Delhi University.
"Delhi University and SRM University will pose a tough competition for us. We have defeated both the universities in previous tournaments, but I still feel we will play a close match when we play against both, Delhi and SRM University. We are preparing very hard to defeat both the universities at the Khelo India University Games," said Manasi Chiplunkar, who will be taking part in table tennis for Mumbai University.
Chiplunkar added that Mumbai University has recorded good form against Delhi University and SRM University in the recently concluded All India University competition.
"We won gold in the All India University competition after defeating Delhi in the final in December 2019. We beat SRM in the qualification round as well. However, both sides are quite good and therefore we are expecting a tough challenge from them," said the 19-year-old.
Although Shikha Gautam from Jain University feels that Delhi and Pune universities will pose a tough challenge in badminton, the Jain University girls' badminton team is not going to focus much on their opponents.
"I think Delhi and Pune Universities will be the tough competitors for us. Jain University's girls' team has been winning the All India University badminton competition for the last four years and we have been champions in the south zone for the last five years. We won't be focusing on other teams, our target is to only win the tournament," said Gautam.
The badminton player added the Khelo India University Games will help athletes gain recognition in the country.
"Everyone will be playing the Khelo India University Games for the first time so everyone will be pumped to put up a good performance. I am sure the competition will be great. Our preparations are going on good for the competition. I think that the athletes will gain recognition through the Khelo India University Games," said the 21-year-old.
When it comes to swimming, Prakyath Gowda from Bangalore University feels that the best swimmers in the country will represent Delhi and Pune Universities at the Khelo India University Games.
"I feel teams from Delhi and Pune will be the tough competitors for us. Most of the top swimmers are from Delhi and Pune universities. In the previous competitions, sometimes we defeated Delhi and Pune, sometimes they were better than us. But we won't be only looking at the swimmers from Delhi and Pune, there are many good swimmers from other teams as well," said Gowda.