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Wednesday May 29, 2024

National Games on schedule, says Balochistan Sports Secretary

By Alam Zeb Safi
March 28, 2023

KARACHI: Balochistan Secretary Sports Mohammad Ishaq Jamali on Monday said that the 34th National Games will be held as per schedule in Quetta.

“Yes the Games will be held as per schedule. There is no doubt about it,” Ishaq Jamali told ‘The News’ in an exclusive interview from Quetta. The Games are slated to be conducted in Quetta from May 15 to 23.

“The preparations are almost complete. The renovation work of some venues, which is in progress, will also be completed within the next few days and the venues will be ready for the major domestic showpiece,” Jamali said.

“The POA security delegation and officials of the federations will also visit Quetta in a few days to witness the arrangements,” Jamali said. He added that the organisers have planned to manage equipment for the biennial spectacle.

“National Federations have the equipment which they use for the National Championships and we will manage its transportation. We also plan to purchase some equipment from the local market as we cannot import them as LCs are not being opened. But we are confident that equipment will be managed in time,” Jamali said. “We also wrote to the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) for equipment on February 18 but the Board’s response is too slow,” Jamali said.

In order to cope with the accommodation issues, the organisers have also planned to hold competitions in some disciplines before the opening ceremony which will be held on May 15. “You know Quetta is not as big as Karachi or Lahore. In order to avoid accommodation and logistics issues we plan to conduct some events before the formal opening of the Games. We have made a plan and are reserving hotels now where provincial teams will be boarded,” Jamali said.

He said that foolproof security will be provided to the participants. “We have made a comprehensive plan and military, police and FC will be there to provide security to the contingents. Top vigilance will be ensured during the teams’ movement from hotels to the venues,” Jamali said.

He said these Games will help build the image of Balochistan. “The event will play a big role in the image building of Balochistan. It will tell the world that Balcohistan is not a no-go area but we are peaceful people,” Jamali said.

“It will also help the athletes of Balochistan to showcase their talent at their own backyard. And on the basis of their top performances the leading lot also can be offered jobs by departments. So I think it’s a good chance for our players to express themselves,” he said.

Jamali said they have prepared a very good martial arts gymnasium and a superb hockey stadium having an artificial turf. “Although the stadium was already there it was in extremely bad shape and we have upgraded it too which will be utilised during the Games,” he said.

Jamali said that shooting event will be held in Jhelum as shooting ranges were not yet ready. “Swimming and rowing will also be held outside Balochistan. Effort is being made to hold sailing event in Balochistan and if it was not done so then it would be held in Karachi,” the official said.

The competitions will be held in 31 sports disciplines. Besides, a men’s exhibition match in tug of war will also be held during the biennial event. One exhibition women cricket match will be conducted besides exhibition shows in men and women futsal. This is the first time that a women cricket match will be conducted during the Games. This will be the fourth time that Quetta will be hosting National Games after having conducted the same event in 1986, 1995 and 2004.