Punjab Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Malik Taimoor Masood said that Sports and Youth Affairs department Punjab in collaboration with Bank of Punjab is going to launch historic Sports Card for welfare of male and female athletes of the province.
He said this while addressing the colourful grand opening ceremony of Punjab Games at National Hockey Stadium here.
President Bank of Punjab Zafar Masud presented a Sports Card to Punjab Sports Minister on this occa-sion.
Secretary Sports and Youth Affairs Punjab Eh-san Bhutta, Commissioner and President Punjab Olympic Association Aamir Jan, Director General Sports Punjab Muhammad Tariq Qureshi and Bank of Punjab President Zafar Masud also addressed the grand opening ceremony.
In his speech, Malik Taimoor said that through Sports Card our sports stars can meet their needs in a respectful manner. “Definitely it is a revolutionary measure for the wellbeing of national athletes and promotion of sports culture in the province,” he added.
He said it is a historic day in the history of Pun-jab sports. “Punjab Games have a history of 98 years. These games were first organised in 1924. “I welcome 5,500 athletes from 10 divisions and all provinces of Pakistan to participate in the Punjab Games”.
He further said the talented athletes from Punjab Games will win laurels for the country in future. “We have selected over 5,000 athletes purely on merit from a population of 120 million of Punjab province”.
Punjab sports minister said: “I would like to thank all the guests who participated in the Punjab Games, the participating players and officials from all the provinces”.
While addressing the grand opening ceremony, Secretary Sports and Youth Affairs Punjab Ehsan Bhutta welcomed all the participants in the Punjab Games. “It’s wonderful achievement of Sports Board Punjab (SBP) and Punjab govt to hold a mega event in a befitting manner. We will try to hold this mega event regularly after every two years,” he maintained.
He informed that Punjab govt is going to revive school sports on a regular basis. “The revival of sports in schools will be a revolutionary step for the bright future of sports in the country. In the first step, 10 games will be played in schools under the supervision of respective deputy commissioners,” he added.
Ehsan Bhutta said at present we have modern International Swimming Complex, International Tennis Courts, International Tennis Stadium, 25 world class astro turfs across the province, gymna-sium hall equipped with modern facilities and other facilities where players work hard to improve their game. In future, we also plan to build modern swimming pools, boxing arenas in each division; the completion of the modern squash complex at Nishtar Park Sports Complex is in the final stages which will prepare the best squash players.
Speaking at the occasion, DG Sports Punjab Muhammad Tariq Qureshi said, “We are determined to promote unity, solidarity and brotherhood among all the provinces of Pakistan, therefore delegations from all the provinces of Pakistan are participating in the historic Punjab Games”.
He said that all sections of the society including transgender and special athletes are given due im-portance and representation in the games.
He said SBP is providing all possible facilities to the players participating in the games. “The players have been provided with the best accommodation in three and four star hotels and the best transport has been arranged for them. Besides this, we are giving the highest daily allowance of Rs1,200 to the players participating in the games”.
In his speech, commissioner Lahore and Presi-dent Punjab Olympic Association Aamir Jan ex-pressed his pleasure on the holding of mega Punjab Games. He said that the future of every country is closely linked to the sports culture of that particular state. “The participants from all divisions have been picked up on merit”.
He said our athlete Arshad Nadeem performed well in Tokyo Olympics and then won gold medals in Commonwealth Games and Islamic Solidarity Games to make Pakistan proud in the world. “Simi-larly, World Beach Wrestling Champion Inam Butt, Nooh Dastgeer Butt, world’s youngest mountaineer Shehroz Kashif, world youngest snooker champion Ahsan Ramzan also raised the flag of Pakistan in the world”.
President Bank of Punjab Zafar Masud in his address lauded the Sports and Youth Affairs De-partment Punjab and SBP for organising Punjab Games at such a bigger level. He said that the Sports Card will be made more effective in future so that the maximum number of athletes can utilise this great facility. “Our cooperation with the Sports and Youth Affairs department Punjab and SBP will continue in future as well for the holding of more such glorious sports events”.—APP