PESHAWAR: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) will be holding the 33rd edition of the long-awaited national games later this year instead of Balochistan.
This was disclosed by a jubilant, former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) sports minister Syed Aqil Shah on Sunday.
Speaking to the media, he said that a decision in this connection was taken during a meeting of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) on the National Games at a local hotel in Peshawar on Sunday. Members of all the affiliated units took part in the meeting.
Shah, who is also K-P Olympic Association president and the POA vice president, further disclosed that all aspects of the holding of the 33rd National Games allotted to the Balochistan Olympic Association (BOA) were discussed in depth.
With the games repeatedly delayed and due to certain logistical and administrative constraints of Balochistan, the members of the meeting decided that the games could not be conducted in Quetta this year.
The holding of these games this year is imperative to enable the federations to select their respective teams for the 13th South Asian Games which is scheduled to be held in Nepal in December 2019, Shah explained.
For this purpose, Shah said that the meeting chaired by POA President Lt-Gen (retired) Arif Hassan had unanimously decided that the national games will be shifted to K-P.
When asked about the preparations required for the successful holding of the national games, Shah said that K-P had organised the 31st National Games within just two months but now, they have six months to prepare for the event.
“The games will be organised with the help of the K-P government in October this year,” Shah declared.
To ensure that Balochistan does not lose its chance to hold the national games, Shah said that the province has been given a chance to inform the POA the moment they are ready to hold the next edition of the games. Should they do so, the 34th edition of the games will be automatically be held in Quetta next year.
Shah added that this decision had been agreed upon by the Balochistan Olympic Association and Balochistan Sports Secretary Ahmed Raza.
The former provincial sports minister recalled that the K-P Olympic Association has vast experience of holding such events have successfully staged the games in 1958, 1974, 1990, 1998 and 2010 and is ready to host the games.
As the next step to organising the games, Shah said that the K-P Sports Directorate will process a summary which will be sent to K-P Chief Minister Mahmood Khan for approval.
Further, the directorate will seek the approval of and release of Rs150 million from the total budgetary provisions.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2019.