June 26, 2010

Traditional sports competitions attract massive crowds


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

After having successfully organized the 13th edition of the Sindh Games in Karachi earlier this month the Ministry of Sports & Youth Affairs of the Government of Sindh kept up the momentum by promoting the traditional sports as a part of the birth anniversary celebrations of Benazir Bhutto, a former Prime Minister of Pakistan.

The Sindh Sports Board (SSB), an organ of the provincial Ministry of Sports & Youth Affairs, staged competitions of wanjwatti, kodi kodi and malakhro on June 22 in Karachi and Tando Mohammad Khan.

Handsome cash prizes were disbursed among the outstanding performers of all the three events and the presentation ceremony was held immediately after the conclusion of the one-day tournament. Karachi hosted wanjwatti and malalkro events while Tando Mohammad Khan was the venue of the kodi kodi contest.

Wanjwatti, kodi kodi and malakhro happen to be the most popular sports in the interior of Sindh as a result of which all of them have remained a part and parcel of the Sindh Games since its inception in 1986.

While the Sindh Olympic Association (SOA) has struggled for survival over the years due to a combination of factors, the provincial government has taken interest from time to time to bridge the gap and keep the sporting spirit alive.

The initiatives of the Ministry of Sports & Youth Affairs of the Government of Sindh in the recent past have given a new lease of life to all kind of sports activities and the duo of Sindh Sports Minister, Dr Mohammad Ali Shah and the departmental Secretary, Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, has made things happen at a much faster pace than ever before.

Their strategy is activity-based and they desire to develop sports from every angle and in every nook and corner of the province. Be it an Olympic sport or a non-Olympic one they have set their sights on generating activity round the year to keep the youth engaged in healthy environment.

One of the areas of focus of the present regime is the traditional sports having witnessed plenty of activity of late. Dr Shah and Shoaib Siddiqui seem to have realized the importance of the games that bring joys to the hearts and minds of the people.

It’s indeed a great idea to promote the traditional sports in a big way. They my not make the headlines in the newspapers or create a breaking news on television channels but the development of the games like wanjwatti, kodi kodi and malakhro is a huge service to the society.

The grounds wear festive look whenever such events are held in any part of the province. Be it the beach of Karachi or a stadium in Jacobabad the traditional sports tournaments attract and thrill the spectators.

Indeed these games are quite a spectacle and a way of life to many. The action brings to life the whole locality and the festivities enchant the area population. It’s such a pleasing sight to watch the crowd so much involved in the game.

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Bridge makes fabulous entry in Sindh Games


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The pair of Raza Naqvi and Anwar Kamal wrote their name into record books by winning the first-ever bridge gold in the Sindh Games at the Aslam Bridge Hall, housed in National Stadium, Karachi.

Raza Naqvi-Anwar Kamal won the pairs contest by scoring 60.88% while Khalid Mohiuddin-Mubashir Puri (59.95%) and Anwar Kazilbash-Ghulam Mohammad (58.38%) claimed silver and bronze medals respectively.

The inclusion of bridge in the 13th Sindh Games generated tremendous interest and a record number of 34 pairs entered the competition. It was the largest number of competing pairs in any of the contest in Karachi.

Masud Mazhar, by aggregating 67.01%, earned the honour of securing the gold medal in the individual championship with Ghulam Mohammad (65.31%) running away with the silver medal and Dr Ahmed Hasan (62.93%) clinching the bronze medal.

A total of 32 bridge players, featuring the top 16 of the pairs championship, took part in the individual contest that included the big guns like World Master Jan-e-Alam Fazli.

A couple of players from Larkana were expected to feature in the individual championship but they could not participate as they had arrived at the venue when the third round was being played.

Bridge was included in the Sindh Games for the first time in 24 years and not surprisingly it brought more glories for Karachi who won the trophy for the 13th time in succession.

Karachi dominated the Sindh Games in general but it was a totally one-way traffic as far as bridge was concerned with all three medals in both the bridge competitions being grabbed by the local players.

The total dominance of Karachi in bridge was not unexpected in view of limited avenues available in other towns or regions of the province. Hyderabad has had its presence but the same could not be said about Larkana, Mirpurkhas and Sukkur.

The inclusion of bridge in the Sindh Games opens the doors for the Pakistan Bridge Federation (PBF) as well as the Mind Sports Association of Pakistan (MSAP) as both the bodies are eager to spread the game.

The PBF don’t have a Sindh chapter yet but they could give it a thought now following the inclusion of bridge in the Sindh Games whose next edition is due to be held early next year.

The PBF may be constrained constitutionally and some amendments would need to be incorporated in order to facilitate a new provincial body which might be a time consuming effort considering the fact that they are governed by the Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).

In the interim period the PBF could mobilize their resources in organizing tournaments in the towns like Hyderabad, Sukkur, Nawabshah, Mirpurkhas and Larkana where bridge does have a certain amount of following.

Another option of accomplishing breakthrough could be extending the MSAP Collegiate Programme to other parts of Sindh after its successful launch in Karachi.

The Sindh Games has definitely provided an opportunity to the bridge administrators and the ball has now moved to their court. How swiftly they meet the challenge remains to be seen.

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