• Thu. May 25th, 2023

PM opens National Games in Quetta


May 23, 2023 , , ,

KARACHI: The 34th National Games were on Monday formally at the jam-packed Ayub Sports Complex, Quetta.In an ideal and cloudy weather, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced the games opened at a ceremony which was also attended by the Balochistan’s top political leadership. The prime minister was accompanied by the Federal Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb.

Also present were Balochistan Governor Malik Abdul Wali Khan Kakar, Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, Sports Minister Abdul Khaliq Hazara, Chief Secretary and Games Oraganising Committee Chairman Abdul Aziz Uquaili and IGP Abdul Khaliq Shaikh.Speaking on the occasion, the prime minister congratulated Balochistan’s government and the organising committee for ensuring a splendid event. He pledged that the federal government will spare its resources for the athletes.

“I salute all the athletes who not only did well at the national level but also hoisted the country’s flag in international circuit. I congratulate on behalf of the federal government and myself Balochistan’s chief minister, governor and oraganising committee for managing such a fine show,” Shehbaz said.

“I also pay tribute to the law-enforcement agencies for making fine security arrangements,” the premier said. “It’s a big day as Quetta is hosting these games after 19 years. It’s a historic city where the founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah came in 1947. It’s a day of national unity and is a reflection of love and affection with the country,” he said.Earlier, a march past of the participating units was held, led by a group of girls from Government Girls College Jinnah Town, Quetta. Olympian javelin thrower and the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games gold medallist Arshad Nadeem led the entire crew of athletes as the flag-bearer.

Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) contingent led the march past, followed by all-time winners from the Army, Higher Education Commission (HEC), Islamabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Navy, Police, Punjab, Railways, Sindh, Wapda, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and host Balochistan.Two-time Tokyo-based Olympian judoka Shah Hussain led Army’s contingent as flag-bearer.After the march-past, Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) Secretary General Khalid Mehmood invited Balochistan Chief Secretary Abdul Aziz Uquaili to request the prime minister to formally open the games. The premier announced the games opened at 3:47pm.

Athlete Hayatullah Durrani then brought the games torch in the ground and after frequent exchanges with the leading current and former athletes of Balochistan, it was taken to its destination at the top of the venue where it was lit. As per the games rules, the torch will keep burning until the end of the biennial spectacle which will be formally closed on May 30, also at the Ayub Sports Complex.Former Pakistan hockey captain Shakeel Abbasi and Asghar Changezi were also part of the torch relay. Baseball player Wasim Akram of the Army took oath on behalf of the participating athletes while former Olympian athlete Sadaf Siddiqui took oath on behalf of the technical officials.

National anthem was missed at the ceremony, which was a glaring omission keeping in view the nature of the games.Meanwhile, sources told ‘The News’ that thick security arrangements had been made for the opening ceremony. Sources said for security reasons accreditation cards of some of the officials were also replaced. Cultural and musical segments added colour to the ceremony. Quetta is hosting the games for the fourth time and first time since it last hosted the spectacle way back in 2004.

As many as 6,000 athletes and 1,000 officials are part of the games being contested in 32 disciplines. The competitions in 14 disciplines have already been completed while the slots in the remaining 18 disciplines will be completed by May 29. Army lead the medals table with 50 golds, 33 silvers and 22 bronze medals. They are followed by Wapda with 25 golds, 18 silvers and 20 bronze. Navy trail at the third spot with 21 golds, 23 silvers and 25 bronze medals.

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