LAHORE - Indian fighters clinched the title of the Sub-continental Championship held under the banner of the Punjab International Sports Festival (PISF) 2014 first phase held here at the Alhamra Cultural Complex.

The Sports Board Punjab (SBP) organised the mixed martial arts competitions for the first time in the country’s history in which a large number of Pakistani, Indian and Afghani players participated. Provincial Minister for Sports Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan and Director General SBP Usman Anwar were the chief guests at the occasion and distributed prized among the winners.

A great number of spectators were also present on the occasion to witness the national and international players in action. Pakistan bagged only three titles while most of the titles went to Afghanistan and a few were earned by the Indians. The two bouts were fought between four Pakistani fighters in which Jameel defeated Mohsin while Imran downed Shoaib.

In the 75kg weight category, Baaz M Mubariz Khan of Afghanistan knocked out Pakistan’s Ashfaq Jutt in the very first round while Pakistani Ahmad Ali was defeated by Udit Thakar of India in the 66kg category. One of the best fights of the event was played between Pakistani Jerry James and Afghani Abdul Wahid which continued till the third round and at the end, the ultimate winner was Jerry.

Afghanistan’s Aqil Shah played very passionately to defeat Pakistan Air Force (PAF)’s Sameer on point basis. Afghanis kept on their supremacy in the competitions as their player Meer Agha knocked out Pakistan’s Naveed in the very first round while another Afghani Fareed edged out Pakistan’s Shahid.

Speaking on the occasion, Indian fighter Udit Thakar said: “Pakistanis gave us a lot of love and respect while the hospitality and hostship extended by the Sports Board Punjab was exemplary. If we get a chance to visit the country in future, we would love to come here again. We are not returning homeland empty handed but bringing with us love and honour we have earned from here.”

Pakistan’s Jerry expressed his joy over winning the title for the country and dedicated his victory to his teacher and all the martial arts players. Organiser of the event Shahzaib Ahmad also lauded the efforts of the Sports Board Punjab in holding the event successfully which provided Pakistani as well as other foreign fighters opportunity to show their potential and earn top honours.

Speaking after the prize distributing ceremony, Rana Mashhood said: “It is a great honour for Punjab Youth Festival in which a large number of new and unique events and games were organised to provide the youth to exhibit their skills. Mix martial arts events were also a part of this grand activity which was held in the country for the first time in which participants of India and Afghanistan partook while in the second phase of the Punjab International Sports Festival, around 15 countries will take part.”