CHITRAL: The Chitral team on Monday retained the Shandur Polo title in a one-sided affair and defeated the Gilgit-Baltistan 10-5 goals in the decider played at the world’s highest polo ground in the valley.
Inspector General of Frontier Corps (IG FC) Major General Waseem Ashraf was the chief guest at the concluding ceremony. Deputy Speaker Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly Jaffarullah, Minister for Tourism Gilgit-Baltistan Fidaullah, ambassadors of various countries, a good number of local and foreign tourists, former polo players and officials of Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (TCKP) were also present.
Stringent security arrangements had been put in place during the 3-day festival where hundreds of personnel of the Chitral scouts and police were deployed for smoothly holding the event. The final was played between the Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral teams at the recently renovated polo ground.
The Chitral team dominated the match right from the beginning and scored one after another goal. It was a one-sided affair before the Gilgit-Baltistan team recovered in the last round of the game and scored five goals. The Chitral won the trophy 10-5 goals.
The polo teams of Chitral, Gilgit, Laspur and Ghizer participated in the event, which is a permanent feature of the annual sports calendar of Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The corporation has allocated Rs40 million for the festival.
The polo game has now got international fame and every year thousands of visitors and tourists from downtown districts and other countries come to Chitral to watch the grand gala. The traditional dances of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan’s were also presented during the festival.The event also included showcasing of work of local artisans and cultural nights. The tourists enjoyed cultural, songs and traditional dances.
A beautiful display of fireworks was also carried at night time during the festival. The paratroops of Special Services Group performed paragliding and received applause from the spectators.
The Shandur annual festival brings a great sense of contentment to the people of these districts. The festival is often embellished with cultural orientations of both the teams that include their cultural dances, paragliding and folk music.
Chitral is the most peaceful district and its natural beauty and pleasant weather attracts thousands of tourists from various parts of the country and around the globe every year. This year is considered good for the tourism sector in the district as a huge number of local and foreign festivals as compared to the previous years.
Later, IG FC Major-General Waseem Ashraf gave away trophies and cash prizes to the winners and runners-up team. The winning teams were awarded Rs100,000/ and runner-up Rs90,000 cash prizes.