Union Sports Minister, Anurag Thakur reiterated on Wednesday that as a sports lover, he will leave no stone unturned to popularise the sport of chess in India.
India is set to host the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad in Chennai from July 28 to August 10 this year and in a bid to promote the sport across the country, the Chess Olympiad torch relay is being organised across 75 cities in India.
Thakur was the chief guest at the Dharamshala (Himachal Pradesh) stopover of the Chess Olympiad torch relay ceremony on Wednesday morning and the sports minister congratulated the All India Chess Federation (AICF) for hosting the Olympiad and giving a chance to young chess enthusiasts to meet their senior counterparts and Grandmasters.
The torch relay was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the IG Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday June 19.
“Chess in India has a long heritage and history. We started from Chaturanga to Shatranj,” Thakur, while addressing a gathering at HPCA, said. “For the first time in the history of the Chess Olympiad, India is hosting the event and what better occasion than Azadi ka Amrit Mahtosav. A total of 188 countries, over 2,000 players and 1,000 officials will come to India during the Chess Olympiad. I congratulate AICF for taking this step and giving a chance to young chess enthusiasts to meet their senior counterparts and Grandmasters.”
A gathering of 500 people comprising school students, athletes of SAI centre Dharamshala, NYKS volunteers and youngsters from Himachal Chess Association graced the event at HPCA. Chess Grandmaster Deep Sengupta was present to hand over the torch to Thakur and carry it forward to Shimla later in the day.
Recalling the Torch relay launch ceremony event, Thakur added, “Hon’ble PM Modi ji started this historic torch relay and around 10,000 people were there in attendance that day to watch the event Live. Now, we have to keep this flame reach every nook and corner of the country and spread the game to the every corner of India.
“As the Union Sports Minister and a lover of sports, I will ensure no stone is left unturned to popularise chess in Himachal and India.”
(Inputs from IANS)