December 5th, 2023: Khelo India, the flagship program by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and Svayam, India’s pioneering accessibility organization, today announced their partnership for Khelo India’s first-ever Para Games. The strategic partnership focuses on making infrastructure and transportation accessible for young and aspiring para-athletes.
Khelo India is proudly introducing the Para Games this year. This ground-breaking initiative is set to witness an extraordinary participation of 1400+ para-athletes hailing from all 36 States & Union Territories. The eight-day-long event will take place at three big stadiums of the capital – Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Indira Gandhi Arena and Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range, where the games will be held from Dec 10 – 17. The event is categorized into seven different disciplines – Para-Athletics, Para-Archery, CP-Football, Para-Badminton, Para Table-Tennis, Para-Shooting, and Para-Powerlifting.
For the upcoming Para Games, Svayam will be undertaking the mammoth task of providing accessible transportation all the Para-Athletes, Para-Officials and Para-Coaches from their arrival in the city to their departure, including from railway stations, bus stations, the airport, and transportation between accommodation (hotels/hostels) and the respective stadiums. This is being done with the objective of making the commute safe and dignified for all. Additionally, Svayam is conducting a sensitization training program for about 400 volunteers and Khelo India officials who will be involved in the event.
Further, promoting sports as a means of holistic development, irrespective of physical abilities, Svayam’s team of civil engineers and architects conducted a comprehensive accessibility audit of the three big stadiums and their facilities, to ensure that these stadiums become the epitome of true inclusivity. The existing gaps in the infrastructure to be used by the para players, coaches, caregivers, officials and spectators were identified and rectified for a smooth event of national importance. The audits have ensured that it’s not just about ramps with handrails but also accessible toilets, accessible seating and accessible parking for para players and spectators.
Sharing her thoughts on the partnership, Ms. Sminu Jindal, Founder – Chairperson of Svayam and Managing Director, Jindal SAW said, “We are ecstatic to join hands with Khelo India Para Games in their pursuit of making sports accessible for all. With this partnership, we are working together to make accessibility a visible success. We hope this partnership paves the way for growth and the broader vision of Svayam, which is to make the world accessible for all.”
Ms. Jindal added, “Such partnerships go a long way in encouraging sporting talent hidden in corners of our vast country to come to the forefront and make our nation proud overseas. Additionally, with an increased budget for Khelo India, the Government has given wings to para-sports and sports in India, and we thank them for that.”
The collaboration between Khelo India and Svayam is a significant step towards creating a more inclusive and accessible sports environment in India. Svayam and Khelo India are dedicated to ensuring that every individual, regardless of their physical abilities, can participate, compete, and witness the excitement of sports that brings the whole nation together.