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November 8, 2019

Action begins Sunday

Sports

November 8, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The much-delayed 33rd National Games will spring into action across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Sunday with 2,758 medals at the stake during the mega event that will run from November 10 to 16.

Peshawar will host the prestigious National Games for seventh time. The Games, earlier allotted to Quetta, were shifted to Peshawar as the Balochistan capital was not ready to welcome around 8,000 athletes and officials that have already thronged the KP capital city.

Peshawar first hosted the Games in 1958 and the last time the city was seen becoming the hub of sports activities for the national event in 2010.

AJK, Army, Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, HEC, Islamabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Navy, PAF, Police, Punjab, Railways, Sindh and Wapda contingents have already reached Peshawar to compete for the honours during the next seven days.

Besides KP cities of Abbottabad, Charsadda, Peshawar and Mardan, Islamabad, Jhelum and Karachi will also be seen hosting the event.

Swimming and rowing have been allotted to Islamabad with shooting already contested in Jhelum and sailing to be competed in Karachi. As many as 32 men’s and 26 women’s disciplines are to be contested during the week-long show that will see 211 men’s and 138 women’s events.

Army and Wapda each with 900 participants are fielding the strongest contingents. The two powerhouses of sports in the country always go neck and neck when it comes to competing in majority of Games.

With 150 members each, Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK will enter the Games with the smallest of contingents.

Peshawar’s Qayyum Stadium will be hosting opening and closing ceremonies. The opening ceremony has already been delayed for a day due to Kartarpur Rahdari opening on November 9.

The KP government has allocated Rs220 million for the smooth conduct of the Games.

“It is a big occasion for the sports fraternity in the country as the 33rd edition of the Games that has been delayed for almost four years, finally springs into action on Sunday. We wanted to hold Games in Quetta and made our best efforts. We even have waited for a few years but the city was not ready for the Games. I hope and pray that the 34th edition will be held in Quetta,” said Lt Gen (r) Arif Hasan, president Pakistan Olympic Association (POA).

Arif also praised KP government’s backing for the mega event. “Such events always keep your top athletes active and prepared for future international events. The Games are being held just a week ahead of the South Asian Games. Performance here would go a long way in preparing our teams and players for the SA Games,” he said.

Games Organising Committee president Syed Aqil shah said the KP Olympic Association was ready to host the Games months after it was allotted to them.

“We were ready last month to host these Games and are ready to host these now. I hope that the Games would be the best ever in recent times. The provincial government is supporting the event with full might.”

One of the interesting events on the cards will be that of hockey which will see eight teams competing. Besides four provincial teams, Army, Wapda, Police and Navy are to be seen locking horns for the top honours.

“KP has always been known for producing hockey players. The game is popular here as the city provides the best atmosphere for it,” Zahir Shah, president KP Hockey when contacted said.

Special security arrangements have been made for the venues and crowd-checking. Surveillance cameras and other necessary security gear would be used to keep vigilance in and around the sports venues.

Extra security measures are in place for Hayatabad Sports Complex and Tehmas Khan Football Ground hosting various events.

A total of 16 CCTV cameras have been installed in and around the Hayatabad Sports Complex and Tehmas Football Ground.

A full-dress rehearsal has been planned for today (Saturday), a day ahead of the start of the Games.