Thomas Cook, India’s largest travel services company, said it was chosen as the hospitality partner for government of India’s national school games that was held as part of the ‘Khelo India’ (Play India) program last week.

Without disclosing the financial details of the contract, Thomas Cook said it provided accommodation and meals for 5,000 students for 10 days in the national capital. The students were put up in 100 different properties, the company said.

“We set up a Thomas Cook Khelo India Project Team of 160 members to manage this massive programme and I am a proud witness of their dedicated, round-the-clock service that ensured smooth delivery of meals and accommodation,” said Rajeev Kale of Thomas Cook India.

Khelo India is an initiative by the current government to bridge the gap between India and other countries in sports.

Despite being home to about one sixth of the population of the world, India typically does not get even 1/100th of the medals in global events like the Olympics.

In last year’s Olympics, for example, India won a total of 2 medals out of a total of around 1000, which works out to about 0.2%.

Most adults in India do not engage in any outdoor sports due to the warm climate, especially towards the interior of the country. Near the coasts, where the climate is cooler, a larger proportion of Indians do engage in sports like football, volleyball, cricket and badminton.

The aim of the Play India program is to create a “vibrant sports eco-system”, revive sports culture at a grass-root level and establish India as a great sporting nation.

The Khelo India School Games, held during January 31 – February 8, saw participation from young athletes in 16 disciplines.

The program “is inspirational in its aim to scout young talent from schools in various disciplines, groom them as future champions and thereby serve to catalyse the sporting culture of the Nation,” Kale said. “It is hence truly an honour for us at Thomas Cook India to have been selected to partner.”

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