Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opened multi-sport extravaganza Bangabandhu 9th Bangladesh Games on Thursday at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in the capital.
She joined the inaugural ceremony from her official residence Ganobhaban virtually in the evening.
Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) is organising the Bangladesh Games at 29 separate venues across the country.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Hasina urged all athletes of 31 sports disciplines of the Games to make themselves fit enough to compete in the Olympics in the future.
“Alongside showing your skills in (9th Bangladesh Games), make yourselves properly fit to participate in the Olympic Games anywhere in the world in the future,” she said.
She said the government will take steps to arrange international training to make sportspersons prepared so that they can take part in some events of the Olympic Games. “We want to develop our athletes in such a way,” she said.
The PM urged all the athletes to follow the health protection rules as it is being held amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
She also asked the organiser to pay attention so that health rules are maintained during the Bangabandhu 9th Bangladesh Games.
Sheikh Hasina said sports are absolutely needed, particularly for our small children and youths.
PM opens Bangabandhu 9th Bangladesh Games
A total of 5,300 athletes from 31 different disciplines will compete for 1,271 medals in 378 events in the Games that will take place till April 10 next.
The last edition of Bangladesh Games took place in April 2013.
State Minister for Youth and Sports Md Zahid Ahsan Russel and President of Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) and Chief of Army Staff General Aziz Ahmed also spoke at the opening ceremony, while Secretary General of BOA Syed Shahed Reza delivered the welcome speech.
An audio-visual presentation was made highlighting the country’s sports in the function.
The 9th edition of Bangladesh Games was initially scheduled to take place in April last year but was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Prime Minister thanked the BOA authorities as the torch of the 9th Bangabandhu Bangladesh Games was ignited at Tungipara, the place where Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had been born and took rest forever. The torch was later carried to the capital with a colourful motor rally.
Sheikh Hasina, the eldest daughter of Bangabandhu, said the Father of the Nation always had a great passion for sports. “He (Bangabandhu) used to promote sports always,” she said, adding that her father, her grandfather, brothers and sisters-in-law used to play sports.
But, all the prospects of Bangladesh got destroyed with the assassination of Bangabandhu on August 15, 1975, she said.
Coming to power in 1996 after 21 years, the Awami League government took measures to encourage children and youths to play sports, said Sheikh Hasina, also the chief patron of the BOA.
She said her government is now constructing a mini-stadium at each upazila across the country to promote sports.
The PM however regretted not being able to attend the opening ceremony physically due to the surge in the Covid-19 infection though she likes to enjoy sports sitting at the stadium.
Source: United News of Bangladesh