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May 22, 2019

National Games to be held in KP from October 21-27


May 22, 2019

KARACHI: After getting the nod from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Chief Minister Mehmood Khan, the organisers on Tuesday announced that the 33rd National Games would be held in the province from October 21-27.

This was revealed by the KP Sports Minister Atif Khan and Pakistan Olympic Association’s (POA) president Lt Gen (retd) Arif Hasan at a joint press conference at Peshawar. KP Olympic Association’s president Aqil Shah was also present at the briefing.

Atif repeated the pledge of his chief minister, saying that all out support would be provided by the provincial government in order to ensure smooth conduct of the Games. He said around 12,000 athletes from Army, PAF, Navy, Punjab, Police, Sindh, Balochistan, WAPDA, Railways, HEC, Gilgit-Baltistan, Islamabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and hosts Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be showing their worth in the competitions.

Atif said the Games would cost KP Rs 170 million. He added it would portray a soft image of the province in the entire world. “We, the people of KP, are peace loving and through National Games we want to give a message of peace to the entire world,” Atif said.

He said top facilities would be provided to the athletes during the Games. “We have international standard facilities at Abdul Wali Khan Sports Complex Charsadda, Hayatabad Sports Complex, Peshawar, and Peshawar Sports Complex,” he said. “We also want some competitions in the tribal districts Khyber and North Waziristan,” Atif was quick to add.

Responding to a question, Atif said that invitations to Afghanistan and other neighboring countries would be sent through the Foreign Office.

The POA chief Arif told this correspondent that meetings were held with KP CM and Peshawar Corps Commander Lt Gen Shaheen Mazher Mahmood and they both promised full support. “The meetings with them were good and they assured us of full support. I am hopeful the Games would be conducted in the best possible way,” Arif said. “I also requested them to spread the Games to other cities such as Charsadda, Mardan, Abbottabad and some tribal districts. The CM liked the idea,” Arif said.

About inviting foreign nations, Arif said that they intended to do so. “We really want to invite Afghanistan and other neigbhouring nations. We are working on that and will reveal the details when the things are confirmed,” Arif said.

Aqil Shah appreciated the input of the KP government. “I am thankful to the provincial government for the great decision to back the cause,” Shah told this correspondent. He said on June 11 he would head the POA Sports Commission meeting and on June 12 POA would meet secretaries and presidents of all national federations and units to discuss various matters relating to the Games.

“After that KP CM will head a meeting as the patron of the spectacle,” Shah said. Prime Minister Imran Khan will open the Games. President Arif Alvi will be invited for the closing ceremony.

Balochistan was to host the Games in April in Quetta. But the province failed to prepare the required infrastructure in time. Awarded to Balochistan in 2012, the Games were postponed several times because of security and funding issues. It eventually forced POA to shift the Games to KP.

However, the POA has informed Balochsitan that it could host the 34th National Games sometime next year. This is the seventh time that Peshawar will be hosting the Games. It hosted the Games in 1958, 1974, 1982, 1990, 1998 and 2010.

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