After seven years of lay-off, the 36th edition of the National Games is going to be held in six different cities of Gujarat.
Why an interval of seven years?
The 35th edition of the National Games of India was held in January 2015 in Kerala, after which it was scheduled to be held in Goa. But the state failed to create the necessary infrastructure for the Games and dragged it for seven years. In 2016, it was delayed due to an early assembly election. Sequentially, it was the change in government in 2017, unpreparedness in 2018, parliamentary elections in 2019 and COVID in 2020-21.
As Indian National Games is held in a non-Olympic and non-Asian Games year, 2022 seemed to be perfect due to the postponement of the Asian Games in China. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) wanted Goa to host the National Games. But Goa Sports Minister Govind Gaude said the coastal state will be ready to host the National Games in December.
The IOA quickly moved the National Games to Gujarat– the state which is gradually emerging as one of the leading sporting states of India. As per Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel, “While Gujarat is equipped with world-class sports infrastructure and a new enthusiasm for sports is being witnessed among the people of the state, Gujarat will spare no effort in making this year’s National Games the best ever.”
History of Indian National Games
The National Games started as Indian Olympic Games in 1924 when Indian Olympic Association was established to select players for the 1924 Paris Olympics. Almost seventy athletes participated in the 1st edition that took place at Lahore in an undivided Punjab. Dr A. G. Noehren, the first secretary of the Indian Olympic Association wrote, “Seventy athletes, representing practically every province and State in the Empire, comprising Hindus, Muslims, Anglo-Indians and Sinhalese, ate their food around the same table and mingled intimately in the cramped and uncomfortable quarters provided.” [Source: Brochure, Madras Provincial Olympic Games, January 1950, Madras, p.6]
The Games were then held every two year and the sports association of the host city bore the responsibility of organising the event. In 1938, after the 8th Games in Calcutta, the IOA decided to take the responsibility of choosing the host cities and promote the Olympic movement in India by renaming Indian Olympic Games as the National Games.
National Games 2022
The 36th edition of the Games is scheduled to be held in six different cities of Gujrat- Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Gandhinagar. New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Cycling Velodrome has been chosen for Track Cycling event. Participation is expected from all Indian states and Union Territories along with a team representing Indian Armed Force. The logo depicts an Asiatic Lion and is named Savaj which means ‘cub’ in Gujarat. The logo has an image of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel with the message of Celebrating Unity Through Sports.