By Anjan Khadka
Kathmandu, Dec 1: The 13th South Asian Games will kick off formally on Sunday at the newly reconstructed Dashrath Stadium.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari will inaugurate South Asia’s mega sports event amidst a special function on Sunday evening.
South Asia’s showcase sports event has returned to its birth place after a gap of two decades. This is the third time the country has been hosting the biggest multi-disciplinary sports meet of South Asia. The country had hosted the 8th edition of games in 1999. The inaugural edition of SAG was also hosted in Kathmandu in 1984.
The 13th SAG that will be held in three cities – Kathmandu, Pokhara and Janakpur. The inaugural ceremony of the much-awaited South Asia’s multi-disciplinary sports event, to be held from December 1-10, will start at 05:00 NST.
The opening ceremony will be held for about 03 hours and 14 minutes. The colourful inaugural function will be held under the tight security.
Olympian Kamal Bahadur Adhikari of weightlifting will be the Nepali squad’s flag bearer while Olympian Deepak Bista will light the Olympic flame. The players and officials from the participating players will be taking part in the march-past.
The inauguration ceremony of the event will feature cultural performances, traditional dances as the artists will perform national songs of seven participating nations. The opening session will also feature dazzling fireworks and other acts based on modern light and sound technology, the organiser said.
According to ceremony committee secretary Kul Bahadur Thapa, about 15000 artists will be taking part in the grand opening of the SAG. The opening session will be a technology-based affairs, Thapa said.
“This is an occasion that makes all Nepalis feel proud after watching the opening ceremony of the SAG, we have included cultural programmes displaying culture and tradition of seven nations,” Thapa said.
Thapa informed drones and other technology would be utilised in the grand opening of the SAG while Makunda Sharma, Prakash Gurung, Ananda Karki, Kunti Muktan, Indira Joshi, Satya Raj Acharya and others artistes will perform at the opening ceremony.
The December 1-10 event will witness the hosting of a total of 26 sports disciplines. The capital city will host 21 disciplines while Pokhara will host 8 and Janakpur only one, wrestling.
According to Mahendra Rai, National Team Preparation Committee Secretary, 2715 athletes from seven nations will vie for 1135 medals including 324 glod, 324 silver and 487 bronze medals. Similarly, 769 officials will take part in the event representing the seven nations.
Nepal has fielded a total of 596 athletes and 186 officials, India 487 players and 167 officials, Bangladesh has sent 470 players and 147 officials, Sri Lankan squad has arrived at Kathmandu with 564 players and 186 officials while Pakista has dispatched 266 players and 105 officials and the Maldives 216 players and 68 officials for the event. Meanwhile, Bhuta has sent 116 athletes and 27 officials.
The government has allocated a total of Rs. 4.5 billion for the hosting of 13th SAG. Out of the total allocated fund, Rs.1.62 billion is for the construction of infrastructure and Rs. 3.65 billion for hosting the tournament.
The government has decided to deploy over 18,000 security personnel to make the SAG a grand success.
Personnel representing Nepal Police, the Armed Police Force, Nepali Army and the National Investigation Department will guard the different venues of the event.
Source: The Rising Nepal