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January 12, 2020

Balochistan plans to hold 34th National Games in August


January 12, 2020

KARACHI: Sports authorities of Balochistan are mulling the option to hold the 34th National Games in Quetta in August this year.

Sources in Balochistan Olympic Association (BOA) told 'The News' on Saturday that effort is being made to conduct the Games in August if there is no major international event in the same time-frame. A meeting was also scheduled to be held between BOA and Balochistan's sports secretary and Director General Sports in Quetta on Saturday but could not be held due to bad weather in provincial capital.

However it was learnt that a letter was sent to the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) on Saturday in a bid to inform the NOC that Balochistan is interested to hold the 34th National Games in August if the time-frame suits the NOC. Balochistan was scheduled to conduct the 33rd National Games but after a few postponements the POA opted last spring to shift that edition to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

KP organised that edition in November last year quite successfully. While shifting the 33rd edition to KP, the POA had stated that Balochistan would organise the 34th edition of the biennial spectacle sometimes in 2020 whenever the province is able to prepare for the vital competitions. This correspondent learnt that the tartan-track is also being laid at the Ayub Stadium Quetta. A source said that the company is confident to lay it by the end of March, 2020. A source said that August would be an ideal month for holding the Games as at that time the weather would be good in Quetta.

Sources said that swimming pool could not be completed and the swimming event would either be held in Islamabad or Karachi if there is any good facility.

BOA also on Saturday gave a list to the sports secretary's personal secretary regarding the equipment which will be required for the competitions. A huge amount of Rs800 million had already been allocated by the Balochistan government for holding the 33rd National Games. Sources said that sailing event would be conducted in Gwadar. Sources said that a shooting range is also being prepared in Quetta which would be utilised during the Games. The BOA, meanwhile, is of the view that those events, which Quetta would not be able to host, would not be included in the list. However sources said that the same thing would be decided after taking an input from the POA. A suicide blast in a Quetta mosque on Friday is certainly an issue of serious concern ahead of the 34th National Games. And a BOA source said that security provision is the responsibility of the provincial government. “Such issues may happen any time but it depends on how the govt makes its security plan,” the source said. During Peshawar's National Games last November, too, the Qayyum Sports Complex, hosting competitions in most of the disciplines, had been heavily guarded by the armed forces.

In 2010 Peshawar had hosted these Games despite the fact that the KP capital was very vulnerable as bomb blasts in the city and its suburbs were the routine exercise as terrorism was at its peak in those days. After squandering a chance to host the 33rd National Games last year a BOA source said that the Balochistan government is now extra-serious in organising the 34th edition this year at any cost.

Quetta had been allotted the 33rd edition in 2012. However due to funding and security issues the province could not hold the Games despite a few years of struggle.

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