June 18, 2010

Regular editions of Sindh Games to improve standard, infrastructure: Dr Shah


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

“The staging of Sindh Games every year will lead to the improvement in the standard of sports besides the development of infrastructure projects in the different corners of the province.”

This was observed by Sindh Sports Minister, Dr Mohammad Ali Shah, who is also President of the Sindh Olympic Association (SOA), in an exclusive chat at the Asghar Ali Shah Stadium on June 18 on the sidelines of the closing ceremony of the 13th Sindh Games 2010.

Dr Shah, who has not been in the best of health for the last few weeks and is getting treatment in London, had come to Karachi for a few days primarily for the Sindh Games which he desires to hold every year.

He dashed back to London only a few hours after the conclusion of the 13th Sindh Games but he took key decisions before his departure including the one of holding the 14th Sindh Games at Sukkur in early 2011 to be followed by the 15th Sindh Games at Mirpurkhas at the start of 2012.

“It was the turn of Mirpurkhas to play host to the just concluded 13th Sindh Games here but the baton could not be passed on to them last year due to the lack of facilities over there. We have planned to develop a couple of mega projects in the interim period to let them hold the Sindh Games in 2012 in style,” Dr Shah disclosed.

“There are multiple benefits of holding the Sindh Games every year as originally planned at the time of its launch in 1986. Unfortunately the annual event was organized only 11 times in the first 22 years but we have controlled the damage by holding it in Larkana last year and now another edition has just concluded in Karachi,” he pointed out.

“Not only the standard of sports will improve in this part of the country but a lot of infrastructure projects will also come up to host the growing number of events. Our athletes will get the much needed practice to compete more purposefully in the national and international meets,” Dr Shah reckoned.

When his attention was drawn towards the huge gap between the athletes of Karachi and rest of the province with the hosts picking up 115 gold medals in the 13th Sindh Games and their nearest rivals Hyderabad bagging only 15, he said a lot was needed to be done by the provincial associations to promote their respective games in the interior regions.

Dr Shah, as chief of the provincial Olympic body, faces a daunting prospect of motivating the officials of the provincial associations because the majority of them still remain unfamiliar with the virtues of professional management.

Arif Ali Khan Abbasi, during his tenure as SOA helmsman, had tried to get the best out of the affiliated units but there was not much success and he had to quit without making the kind of contribution he was expected of. It remains to be seen if Dr Shah would be able to turn the SOA into a vibrant entity.

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Sindh Games concludes with a spectacular ceremony


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The curtain fell on the 13th Sindh Games 2010 with a spectacular closing ceremony under floodlights at the Asghar Ali Shah Stadium in North Nazimabad on June 16. There was live music and fireworks to entertain the participants and the cheering crowd.

Sindh Education Minister, Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq, declared the Games closed after awarding the Mohenjodaro Trophy to Karachi, who extended their complete dominance in the provincial event by winning it for 13th time in a row.

He complimented the provincial sports department to have held two editions of Sindh Games in successive years while urging them to offer greater encouragement to the practitioners of the indigenous sports like malakhro, kodi kodi and wanjwatti.

Sindh Sports Minister, Dr Mohammad Ali Shah, who is also President of the Sindh Olympic Association (SOA), attributed the success of the Games to teamwork and he recognized the contribution of the various individuals and institutions.

Dr Shah, chiefly responsible for having the Games staged in the unlikeliest of situations, was himself the motivating force behind the spectacular closing ceremony held at the stadium built by him in 1994.

It was in the fitness of things that the Sindh Games came to the Asghar Ali Shah Stadium with a bang. It was for the first time that the picturesque stadium, having hosted fabulous cricket matches on a regular basis, hosted a Sindh Games event and what an occasion it turned out to be. It was a memorable evening for the young athletes in particular who were even amused by the settings.

In his welcome address, Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, Secretary Sports & Youth Affairs to the Government of Sindh, did observe that the smiles on the faces of the participating athletes and their officials from every nook and corner of the province was a reflection that sports indeed spread happiness.

He didn’t mince words in stating that his department had been entrusted to organize the Sindh Games at a short notice and they had to mobilize all their reserve energies to meet the challenge.

Karachi Region, by securing as many as 115 gold medals, stood head and shoulders above their nearest rivals Hyderabad who bagged 15 gold medals with Sukkur, Larkana and Mirpurkhas sharing the next three positions. Larkana, however, had the consolation of collecting the Fair Play Trophy.

The individual glories also came Karachi’s way as the versatile female athlete, Almas Ibrahim, repeated her feat in Larkana a year ago by bagging seven gold medals again. Javed Taqi was declared the best male athlete for having earned seven gold medals in swimming.

The 13th edition of the Sindh Games lasted three days in which the male athletes competed in 36 disciplines and the female athletes had 17 events to participate. The mind sport of bridge made a debut with individual and pair events. Another heartening feature of the Games was the overcast weather condition much to the relief of the participating athletes.

There were odd reports of organizational mismanagement during three high voltage days but it was not unexpected in the situation the event was being held.

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