Bangladesh Set to Open SA Games
Friday, 29 January 2010

The 11th South Asia Games, the greatest sports extravaganza of the region, gets underway in Bangladesh on Friday.

Nearly 1,800 athletes from eight countries are expected to take part in the Games dubbed 'The Olympics of South Asia'. They will compete in 23 disciplines, which offer 158 gold medals.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the 12-day event after a three and half hour opening ceremony, which will broadcast by Bangladesh Television from the Bangabandhu National Stadium (BNS) in the capital at 4:00pm.

The 23 disciplines are: archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, cycling, football, golf, handball, hockey, judo, kabaddi, karate, shooting, squash, swimming, cricket, table tennis, taekwondo, volleyball, weightlifting, wrestling and wushu.

Bangladesh is hosting the meet for the third time after staging it in 1985 and 1993 when the Games were formerly known as South Asian Federation (SAF) Games.

Around 11,800 school students, 1300 Ansars, 1000 Army men will take part in various colourful displays at the opening ceremony.

Commonwealth Games gold winning shooter Asif Hossain Khan will carry the Bangladesh national flag in the opening ceremony. Bangladesh football captain Aminul Haq and athlete Nazmun Nahar Beauty will take oath on behalf of the participating athletes.

BFF and SAFF president Kazi Salahuddin will act as the torch-bearer inside the BNS before lighting the torch tower at the top of the stadium after change of hands by 11 other celebrated local sportsmen.

Meanwhile, the Games torch was ignited at the Meghnaghat Power Stadium on Thursday.

National sports award winning swimmer Wing Comdr Rafiqul Islam carried the torch, which was lit by finance minister AMA Muhith and then handed over to another award winning veteran sportsman Bashir Ahmed to carry to the Games venue.

The Bangladesh Olympic Association released nearly 8,000 gallery tickets of Tk 50 each for the opening ceremony. The Games end on Feb 9.


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