Hamirpur (Himachal Pradesh), June 22 (IANS) More than 1,500 athletes will take part in the four-day Himachal Pradesh State Olympic Games that began here on Thursday amidst fanfare, the event organisers said.

Former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar The Great Khali and state Governor Acharya Devvrat inaugurated the first-ever Himachal Olympic Games.

“The sole objective of these games is to make the state’s youth aware of the endless possibilities that sports offer and inspire them to take up sports in a big way,” an official statement quoting Himachal Pradesh Olympic Association President Anurag Thakur said.

“Through the slogan of ‘Khelega Yuva, Jeetega Himachal’ or youth will play, Himachal will win, we want to inspire youth to be successful in life and bring laurels to the country and the state,” Thakur, the former BCCI President who was instrumental in developing six stadiums, including the world-class showpiece stadium in Dharamsala, said.

Earlier, Thakur, along with Olympian Padma Shree Vijay Kumar received the Olympic Torch Run here. It had begun from Shimla on June 17 and reached here after traversing the state.

The four-day event will witness tournaments in 11 sporting disciplines — hockey, athletics, boxing, basketball, judo, kabaddi, volleyball, wrestling, kho-kho, weightlifting and shooting.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.