LAHORE - Punjab Olympic Association (PbOA) secretary Mahmood Naveed has said that nearly 1800 athletes and 550 officials will be taking part in the Punjab Games being held from December 26 across the province with major districts holding various events under a new concept.

Speaking at a news conference here on Monday at Olympic House, Naveed, flanked by PbOA SVP Nadeem Sindhu and Vice Presidents Khawaja Farooq Saeed and Javed Saleem, said it was for the first time in the history of sports that the Games would be held in different parts of the province to broaden the span of the activity and to get people involved in the sports extravaganza.

“We will holding the events of athletics, swimming, gymnastics, cycling, chess, karate, judo, volleyball, arm wrestling, taekwondo, wrestling, bodybuilding, weightlifting, rowing, jiujutsu and canoeing and we are in process of finalizing a few more disciplines to make the games thrilling and competitive,” he said.

Khawaja Farooq, who is the also PSB-backed Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) secretary, praised the idea of holding different events across the province terming it a new concept which would contribute in the overall development of the Games. “The Punjab Games are being organised under new visions and ideas and we will also be holding its opening and closing ceremonies at Alhamra Hall, instead of a ground or stadium to add colour by introducing cultural events for the entertainment of the public,” he added.

He said the opening ceremony would be held on December 26 and all the nine zones of the Punjab would attend it while the closing ceremony would be held on December 31.

Nadeem Sindhu and Javed Saleem said the games were being organised without getting any funds from the government.

 “We are holding these Games from our own resources. A torch rally ceremony of the games will be held in each divisional headquarters starting from Rahim Yar Khan ending at Lahore.”

The PbOA secretary dispelled the impression that they were not the genuine body to hold the games as another faction of Punjab Olympic had already staged the event in the recent past. “We are the legitimate body as we are affiliated with the POA and we are not interested to get ourselves involved in any controversy as we are aiming to promote games in the province and to keep our youth engage in healthy activities,” he concluded.