ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) is ready to conduct the 2nd Quaid-e-Azam Inter-Provincial Games here at the Pakistan Sports Complex today (Monday) with a colourful opening ceremony.

PSB Director General Akhtar Ganjera announced this during a press conference held here Sunday. “Although government had released only Rs 20 million and that too were utilized on the hotel accommodation and meals of visiting boards and provinces, yet the government has given assurance of releasing second installment soon.

“We will inaugurate the games at 3:30pm today, where President Mamnoon Hussian was supposed to be the chief guest, but due to his commitments, Leader of House in Senate Raja Zafar-ul-Haq has accepted to be the chief guest, while IPC Minister Riaz Pirzada will welcome him and other guests,” he added.

Ganjera said almost all the boards and provinces have arrived and shifted to hotels and other places. “All the preparations have been completed, but due to shortage of budget, we failed to properly advertise the games. But I hope sports journalists will do their duty well and give the best coverage to the event. We have invited Sanam Marvi and Malko to add charm and the PNCA-selected group will perform traditional dances. There will be a march past at 1:30pm while the main ceremony will start after the chief guest arrives and declares the games officially opened.”

He said in the first edition of the games, they found a number of talented youngsters, who won medals at national level and were also sent to China for further training. “But our limits stop here, as it is the respective federations’ duty to pick the athletes and recommend them to PSB. We are always ready to help out deserving medal winning players.”

Ganjera said it is his utmost wish to enhance prize money for the winning athletes, who travel long distances, but financial constrains are major hurdle. “We have conducted 13 disciplines in the last edition with Rs 130 million expenditure, but this time, we have 20 disciplines, for which we had demanded Rs 170 million from planning commission, but they only agreed on Rs 130 million, so we were left with one option to reduce the disciplines.

“We are highly grateful to security agencies, who will provide security at the PSB, hotels and all the venues. We have passes for the general public, who should come in number and enjoy the gala. The main purpose of conducting the games is to bring different cultures, areas and provinces together and provide youth with a platform to showcase their talent and skills and excel at higher level,” he added.

Ganjera said a monitoring room was established in the PSB while the journalists were also given a media room, which is equipped with modern day needs. “We have issued accreditation cards to all the sports journalists and if someone is still left, he or she can get the card after submitting photographs and CNIC to Azam Dar.”

When asked the POA has distanced itself from the games, Ganjera said: “It is their own point of view, as the government has decided to conduct the games, as a PC-I was sent 5 years back in this regard. We never interfere in their domain.” About supporting the POA to conduct the long-delayed National Games, the DG said: “We are ready to support the POA in every aspect, but it is purely their mandate to conduct the National Games.”

When reminded last time a great number of complaints were registered against poor quality of food and security of participating teams, Ganjera said: “We have deputed liaison officers with every team, while security and quality of food and accommodation will also be monitored accordingly.”