Punjab Sports Festival 2012
The biggest sporting event in the history of Pakistan – the Punjab Sports Festival 2012 - kick-started on 23rd January 2012. The final stage of the competition is currently in full swing across various venues of Lahore.
This grand initiative of the Chief Minister is important for several reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, it promotes a sporting culture in the province while simultaneously providing an excellent platform to tap undiscovered talent. It marks the first time that a sporting event has targeted the grassroots level and, judging by the enthusiastic response (tens of thousands of teams from schools and the general public have participated) the plan has met with great success. It has also given an opportunity to the government to take an inventory of the sporting services available across Punjab. Over 4,000 playing fields and 18,000 facilities have been utilized in pulling off this mega-event spread over fifty days.
Secondly, the sports festival has provided a much needed constructive outlet for the youthful energies of the youngsters in the province. It has challenged students of the hundreds of participating schools, colleges and universities to not only develop physically but also to cultivate personal qualities such as hard-work, fair play, teamwork, leadership and adherence to rules – all attributes of organized sport. Such holistic development will go a long way in creating responsible citizens of the future.
Finally the festival has been instrumental in integrating communities and building social cohesion. Participants have included male and female schools, colleges and universities, bar associations, press clubs and private and public departments. Often marginalized groups, such as special people, have also been given an opportunity to shine through the separate events held for them. This level of social inclusion has led to greater community engagement, while the teamwork required to achieve such a huge target has helped build stronger links across all administrative levels of the province.
The opening ceremony for the final stage of the Punjab Sports Festival was held on 28th February 2012. The Chief Minister was present for the occasion, as were the participating athletes, and the magnetic performers Shafqat Amanat Ali, EP, Qurt-ul-Ain and Annie who came out to entertain the spectators. Winners moved up from events held in the 3,464 Union Councils, 137 Tehsils, 36 Districts and 9 Divisions are now fighting it out for ultimate glory in the final (provincial) phase of the competition through a range of events including Athletics, Badminton, Basket Ball, Cricket (hard & tape ball), Football, Hockey, Kabaddi, Karate, Taekwondo, Volleyball, Weightlifting and Wrestling. Prize money of Rs. 55,000 (UC), Rs. 246,000 (Tehsil), Rs.936,000 (District) and Rs. 2,473,000 (Divisional) has been disbursed so far. The sports festival will end on 11th March 2012.
To learn more about the schedule and events please visit www.sportsportal.punjab.gov.pk