Curtain raise on 13th SA Games this evening

KATHMANDU The curtain of the 13th South Asia Games, the biggest sports extravaganza of the region, set to raise this evening at the newly constructed Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari is expected to declare the Games open in front of dignitaries and athletes from seven participating nations of South Asia.

The inauguration ceremony will last for about three hours and 15 minutes. It will feature march-past by athletes and a variety cultural program depicting Nepal's history, the present and the future perspective. It will also feature a variety cultural show depicting the culture of all seven member countries of the SAARC.

This time the mascot of the 13th SAG features 'Krishnasar' (the blackbuck antelope). More than 5,000 delegates including 3,250 athletes are going to take part in the 10-day regional meet that features twenty six sports disciplines. Nepal is fielding the highest number of athletes 597 and is the only nation to participate in all sports disciplines.

Around 18,000 security personnel and 500 volunteers have been mobilized. Nepal has hosted the South Asian mega sports event, SAG, two times before this. It hosted this sports event in 1984 when SAG was founded and then in 1999. More than 15,000 local artists and performers are expected to present various shows representing all seven provinces of Nepal.

The 12th SA Games gold winning swimmer Mahfuza Khatun Shila will carry the Bangladesh national flag on behalf of Bangladesh in the opening ceremony.

A 621-memebr strong Bangladesh contingent will represent in the regional meet which will be held in Kathmandu and Pokhara with Bangladesh will take part in twenty five disciplines out of twenty six in the South Asian regional biggest extravaganza.

The twenty five disciplines are archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, cycling, football, golf, fencing, Kho Kho, handball, hockey, judo, kabaddi, karate, shooting, squash, swimming, cricket, table tennis, taekwondo, volleyball, weightlifting, wrestling and wushu.

The South Asian Federation Games began from Kathmandu in 1984 and Nepal hosted the eighth edition of the Games in 1999. Late King Birendra inaugurated the Games on both occasions. The SAF Games was renamed to SA Games from the 10th edition held in Colombo in 2006.

The SA Games offers a total of 1,115 medals 317 gold, 317 silver and 481 bronze with swimming being at the top with 38 gold medals. Out of the 27 sports disciplines included in the SA Games, paragliding was cancelled in the absence of minimum three teams.

Earlier, Bangladesh, featuring a 718-member contingent, finished fifth among eight nations in the last South Asian Games in India in 2016, winning four gold, fifteen silver and fifty six bronze medals.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)