Advisor to Chief Minister Punjab on Sports and Youth Affairs Malik Umer Farooq opened the Inter-Provincial Boys Under-17 and Girls Under-16 Hockey and Inter-Provincial Boys Under-17 Weightlifting Tournaments at a colourful inaugural ceremony at National Hockey Stadium on Tuesday.
Director General Sports Punjab Adnan Arshad Aulakh, Director Sports Hafeez Bhatti, head coach of national hockey team Olympian Kh Junaid, Secretary Punjab Hockey Association Col (retd) Asif Naz Khokhar, former captain of Pakistan women hockey team Rahat Khan and members and officials of all participating teams also attended the opening ceremony.
Advisor to Chief Minister Punjab on Sports and Youth Affairs Malik Umer Farooq also unveiled the trophy at the opening ceremony. Several notable sports personalities, captains of all participating teams, officials and players were also present on this occasion.
Hockey and weightlifting players and officials from all provincial teams took part in the march past during the opening ceremony.
Advisor to Chief Minister Punjab on Sports and Youth Affairs Malik Umer Farooq and Director General Sports Punjab Adnan Arshad Aulakh also talked to media and addressed the opening ceremony.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Advisor to Chief Minister Punjab on Sports and Youth Affairs Malik Umer Farooq said Punjab govt in line with the vision of Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar is fully promoting the sports culture among the young generation. “Through back-to-back hockey events we are preparing a bunch of talented players and these players will prove to be very helpful for Pakistan to regain its lost hockey glory”.
Advisor to Chief Minister Punjab on Sports and Youth Affairs Malik Umer Farooq said the Punjab govt has allocated a hefty budget of Rs 6 billion for sports for the first time in the history of the province. “We are quite upbeat that these back-to-back sports events will help a lot in promoting Pakistan’s soft image among the world community”.
In his address to the opening ceremony, Director General Sports Punjab Adnan Arshad Aulakh said the Punjab govt is utilizing all resources for the growth of sports culture across the province. “Sports Board Punjab under the leadership of Punjab Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Rai Taimoor Khan Bhatti organized numerous male and female sports events during the last three years which reflected our commitment with the cause of sports”.
Director General Sports Punjab Adnan Arshad Aulakh said Sports Board Punjab also hosted First Chief Minister Punjab 5-a-Side National Women Hockey Championship recently quite successfully. “That event provided an ideal platform to young female hockey players of the country to exhibit their hockey skills and prepare themselves for first-ever FIH Hockey 5s World Cup scheduled to be staged in Oman’s capital city, Muscat”.
Director General Sports Punjab Adnan Arshad Aulakh further said that Sports Board Punjab is also laying 25 astro turfs and establishing hockey academies in different tehsils of the province. “We are also going to change the astroturf at the National Hockey Stadium in the future to provide the best playing facilities to our talented male and female hockey players”.
Director General Sports Punjab Adnan Arshad Aulakh further said that Inter-Provincial level events are being organized across the country on our proposal which we presented to Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Fahmida Mirza a couple of months back. “The successful holding of several sports events reflects that our sports are heading towards a bright future. We are organizing under-16 and under-17 sports events in various games to trace potential players from grassroots level,” he added.