The 35th National Games are set to begin in Kerala this weekend. The opening ceremony will take place at the Greenfield Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram on January 31 and the games will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The competitions will begin from February 1 and the games will feature 33 disciplines of sports in total. The games will continue for more than two weeks and will witness more than 10,000 athletes in action. The mascot of the 35th National Games is Ammu, The Great Indian Hornbill, which is also the State bird of Kerala.
Speaking weather wise, this is generally a dry period for the state of Kerala. Also, Kerala is the zone which experiences the maximum heat index, resulting in highest day temperature for any state in India during this time of the year. The maximums for the duration of the National Games are expected to stay in the mid-30s, whereas the minimums are expected to remain in the mid-20s. But Kerala being a coastal region, faces the Arabian Sea on its western border, thereby giving birth to uncomfortably humid conditions. The athletes, especially those participating in fast-paced games, will have to endure hot and humid conditions.
Clear weather is predicted for the first few days of the games, however light rain is expected in some pockets, possibly from 10th to 13th February. But this activity should clear up by the closing ceremony which is set to take place on February 14. The region also experiences reversals in wind direction. While a moderate breeze from land to sea is experienced during day time, the wind changes direction to blow from sea to land in the afternoon period. These winds are expected to bring marginal relief to the athletes.
Kerala last hosted the 27th National Games back in 1987. A lot has changed since then and the organizers are working tirelessly to fill the gaps. The state and concerned authorities are hell-bent on ensuring fully safe and fair games for all the participants. The authorities are planning to enforce strict anti-doping measures with some 300 doping samples planned to be taken at the games. Meanwhile, the concept of ‘Green Games’ is also being taken seriously with environment friendly and energy efficient housing technology in place. Former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar has been named as the goodwill ambassador for the games. A mobile application and uniforms for volunteers have also been launched. President Pranab Mukherjee will be the chief guest at the closing ceremony which will also be held in Thiruvananthapuram.