SWAT: The two-month-long sports gala in Swat has served as a means for many to break away from routine. Among other games, the wheel chair race and one-legged race for disabled persons on Sunday was a welcomed change.
“This is the first time that we’ve been given an opportunity to participate in a race,” said Abdullah, who won the wheel-chair race. “It’s really an emotional moment for me to receive appreciation and applause. I forgot my disability for some moments.”
The race for people using crutches was competitive, with participants charging excitedly towards the finish line.
Noor Afzal, winner of one-legged race was out of breath but talking loudly on his cell phone, telling someone of his victory. “Hurrah! I defeated them all. I left them far behind and won the competition,” he said on the phone.
Zohaib, a spectator, said, “We have to give [disabled people] equal opportunity of such healthy activities in our society.”
There were some other sports for schoolchildren too. For primary school boys, a 100-metre race, sack race and for girls, musical chair was held. A rickshaw race also earned much applause.
At the end of the day, chief guest MPA Shershah Khan participated in a tug of war match.
“Such activities ensure peace and today the enthusiasm of so many people in sports grounds proves that there is peace in Swat,” said Khan.
The sports gala has been organised by the army to showcase the peace and stability in the scenic valley after witnessing devastation of militancy and floods.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2012.