The 36th National Games was declared open by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the opening ceremony in Ahmedabad on Thursday evening. The inauguration ceremony was witnessed by over 100,000 spectators.

Many current and past sports icons were present at the Narendra Modi Stadium. Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra, Olympic medallists PV Sindhu, Ravi Dahiya, Mirabai Chanu, Gagan Narang, former national hockey captain, and new HI chief Dilip Tirkey along with World Championship medallist Anju Bobby George attended the ceremony.

In keeping with the Olympic convention, but with a modern twist, Gujarat's swimming star Maana Patel brought the symbolic Torch of Unity into the arena and handed it over to the Prime Minister.

When the PM

rose to speak, a roar as loud as thousand lions echoed in the stadium, underlining his continued popularity in the state.

"This sight, this ambiance can’t be described in words. In the world's biggest stadium, one of the world's youngest countries is witnessing India's biggest sports festival," he said.

"The sports budget of the country has increased by about 70 percent in the last 8 years, Until 8 years ago, Indian athletes participated in less than 100 international events. Now Indian players participate in more than 300 international events," the PM added.

Praising the theme behind the Games anthem, 'Judega India, Jitega India', the Prime Minister said that the National Games would act as a launch pad for every youngster.
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