KARACHI: District Central clinched the country’s first Beach Games as the inaugural event concluded yesterday at the Sea View, Karachi.
A tally of 548 points from 26 various events that featured 1,000 participants in the two-day event earned Central the trophy. District East finished second with 419 points followed by South who totalled 415.
The fourth team in the two-day event, District West, finishes last with 332 points.
Sindh Olympics Association (SOA) Secretary Mudassar Arain said the event has helped the body shortlist Karachi players for the South Asian Beach Games that are scheduled for November.
However, the official said the main purpose of the Games, which featured archery for the first time, was to promote the sport among the youth.
“It was the biggest Beach Games of the country and we have been able to establish it at the grass-root level,” Arain told The Express Tribune.
“Our next step will be to train the short-listed athletes for the South Asian Beach Games. Many new talented players have emerged from different events. So we will make sure that they continue pursuing the sport.”
Arain was also pleased with the turnout at events like kabaddi, malakhara and tug of war that attracted attention from the audience and participants alike.
“The spectators really enjoyed these events in Karachi. Many parents brought their children just to watch these traditional events.
“With Beach Games every year, we will also revive an interest of the people in these sports,” said Arain.
According to Sindh Archery Association Secretary Muneer Razzaq, the sport was also well-received.
“It was exciting,” said 16-year-old participant Zainul Abeddin who clinched the silver medal for District East. “If we get proper facilities and coaches then we can pursue it.”
‘Limited scope’ for women
However, as much as the SOA wanted female participation, the number of women’s events remained limited.
Blaming the lack of female participation on the players’ own reluctance, a Sindh Volleyball Association official said the Beach
Games are likely to witness the same trend in the coming years.
“Having women play at the beach is still unacceptable to many people,” said the official.
“As organisers, we feel that it’s not safe for them to play here. Even if we take adequate security measures the players would never agree.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2013.