Tuesday June 18, 2024

Army lift trophy as National Games end

By Alam Zeb Safi
May 31, 2023

KARACHI: Army were handed over the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy by President Dr Arif Alvi as the 34th National Games were formally closed at a colourful ceremony at the Ayub Sports Complex in Quetta on Tuesday.

Army, who have a rich history of lifting the Trophy in every National Games in which they have featured since the Games’ inception in 1948, finished yet again at the summit with 199 gold, 133 silver and 66 bronze medals.

WAPDA, with 109 gold, 101 silver and 80 bronze, wrapped up their journey as the runners-up and were handed over Syed Wajid Ali Shah Trophy. Navy, which finished third with 28 gold, 32 silver and 49 bronze, were given away the President POA Trophy.

The competitions were conducted in 32 disciplines. In order to manage the Games smoothly, competitions in over a dozen of disciplines had been conducted before the opening ceremony. Alvi formally announced the Games closed. He congratulated the organisers for conducting the spectacle in a befitting way.

He said that Balochistan is a peaceful province. “Balochistan is a peaceful province. I am so happy that the trophy which had been acquired by the founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah by spending money from his own pocket is still there,” Alvi said.

He said that Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah founded the Boys Scouts and Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah founded Girls Guide in order to create organisational skills, competitive and healthy environment among the youth.

“Sports play a vital role in physical and mental growth, character building, team work and creates sportsman spirit in the youth which is very important,” Alvi said. “If the spirit of development is created in the hearts of the youth, then no one can stop the development of the country,” Alvi was quick to add. Earlier, Balochistan Sports Minister Abdul Khaliq Hazara welcomed Alvi. Hazara said that the current Balochistan government is focusing on providing sports facilities to the youth of the province.

“We are working on building an international level sports complex. We have already done some work but it was stopped due to floods in the province. We request the federal government to assist us in completing the facility,” Hazara said. Appreciating the role of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) in organising the Games, Hazara said that Balochistan faced difficulties in conducting the spectacle but due to great assistance from the POA the Games became possible.

He said by holding the Games they have sent a message of peace to the entire world. “By organising the spectacle, we have propagated the message that Balochistan is a sports loving province. Now we have the skills and whenever we are given any such events we will hold them in the most befitting way,” Hazara said.

President of Pakistan also presented shields to Balochistan Chief Secretary Abdul Aziz Uquaili, who was also the chairman Games Management Committee, Hazara, Balochistan IG Police Abdul Khaliq Shaikh, Balochistan Sports Secretary Mohammad Ishaq Jamali, Commissioner Quetta Sohail Ahmad, Pakistan Olympic Association’s secretary Khalid Mehmood, POA finance secretary Mohammad Shafiq, Ex Speaker Balochistan Assembly and member of the Games Management Committee Rahila Hameed Khan Durrani and Director General Balochistan Sports Board Durra Baloch.

As many as 6000 athletes and officials were part of the Games which Balochistan hosted after 19 years. Pakistan Air Force (PAF) finished fourth with eight gold, 24 silver and 42 bronze medals. They were followed by HEC (8 gold-17 silver-93 bronze), Sindh (4-16-23), KP (4-6-39), Punjab (3-11-53), Railways (3-8-25), Balochistan (2-18-30), Police (1-2-12) and Islamabad (0-0-7).

Besides home-grown athletes some foreign-based players, including two-time Olympian judoka Shah Hussain and swimmers Mohammad Haseeb Tariq and Ahmad Durrani, also showcased their talent in the Games. Pakistan’s leading karateka and former Asian champion Saadi Abbas, who resides in Canada, missed the event due to his personal issues. This was the first time that the two-time Commonwealth Championship gold medallist Saadi Abbas missed a big national event since 2005.