PESHAWAR (APP): The 4th edition of the Inter-Provincial Games under the aegis of Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) and with the collaboration of Directorate General Sports KP and KP Olympic Association got under way here with great enthusiasm witnessed among the participating players.
President Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) Lt. Gen ® Arif Hassan formally inaugurated the colorful Games. Former Hockey Olympian Munzur Ul Hassan, Secretary Sports, Tourism, Culture and Youth Affairs Muhammad Tariq Khan, Secretary POA Khalid Mehmood, Vice President POA Syed Aqil Shah, DG Sports KP Junaid Khan, Director Female Games KP Miss Rashida Ghaznavi, Chairman Pakistan Volleyball Federation Ch. Yaqoob, former DG PSB Dr. Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera, Organizing Secretary Zulfiqar Ali Butt, Director Operation Syed Saqlain Shah, officials, players and large number of spectators were also present.
A total of 1700 athletes and more than 160 officials are taking part in 25 different games comprising archery, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing, bodybuilding, gymnastics, handball, hockey, ju-jitsu, kabaddi, karate, rowing, rugby, softball, squash, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, tug-of-war, volleyball, weightlifting with 11 disciplines for female and 25 for males.
The sports disciplines of cycling (men & women) and judo (men & women), is not included. The golf and shooting have expressed their unavailability so all the four games are not part of the Games. The colorful opening was started with the recitation from Holy Quran by Nida Niat, followed by a smart March Past. World Gold Medalist in Wrestling Inayat Ullah carried the national flag, followed by a FC contingent holding the Olympic Flag. The torch bearers led by double gold medalists Khalid Noor formally flamed the Games Torch. Soon after the March Past Lt. Gen (Retd) Arif Hassan announced the commencement of the Games, balloons and pigeon were released in the air with banners inscribed with different game slogans. It is for the first time that contingent of Gilgit-Baltistan (100), FATA (150) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (100) took part alongside Balochistan (300 athletes), Punjab (300), Sindh (300), Islamabad (100), and KP (300) are taking part.
Lt. Gen Arif Hassan also lauded the govt of KP for approving a grant of more than Rs. 40 million for the organizing committee of the KP Olympic Association. He said that for the large interest of the promotion of sports in the country, the POA keen to provide maximum participation to the youth of AJK and GB. He urged upon Governor KP to extend support to FATA Olympic Association so the youth of FATA can actively participate in these Games. He said more facilities would be ensured to AJK, FATA, Islamabad and GB so that its players could come up at par with Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and KP. In a question, about Athletics, he said, two groups each from Sindh, Balochistan turned up and such issue would be resolved when both Pakistan Athletic Federation and POA jury committee would sit together by Sunday evening. DG Sports Junaid Khan assured that the govt of KP is very keen to extending full support to the POA for holding the Games. He said govt of KP is extended all out support for hosting the Games as all facilities of various disciplines have already been revamped to ensure international standard to the players.
He said newly constructed Abdul Wali Khan Sports Complex Charsadda, Hayatabad Sports Complex Peshawar, Peshawar Sports Complex, and University Campus Peshawar are the main venues for different Games. He said Governor KP will grace the occasion as guest at the closing ceremony. A request has already been made to the Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for the presentation ceremony on March 20.
Earlier, folk dances Mehsud, Khattak Dance, and Versatile Dance Company Lahore’s have traditional dances of Kalasha, Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, AJK, traditional Athern of Waziristan Agency FATA, turned the whole complexion into a melodious one. The participating athletes also joined the dances grounds enthusiastically on the traditional numbers.