The first day of district-level games for under-17 category received a rousing response with over 4,900 players taking part in ‘Punjab Khed Mela’ on Thursday.
Players of 18 district-level games and qualifying players of the six games organised at the block-level competed to secure a spot in the state-level games. As many as 2,604 players had registered online for the district-level games in the U-17 category, while some had registered offline.
In hockey, girls‘ teams of Boparai Kalan, Jlaldiwal, Sudhar and Mundian Kalan won the matches, while among boys, teams of Jagargarh and Rampur village emerged victorious.
Government School Kasabaad, Government School Sherpur Kalan and Guru Nanak Model School, Dholewal, won softball matches. In the 1,500 metre race, Parminder Singh and Simranpreet Kaur baaged the first place among boys and girls, respectively. The results of other matches were being compiled at the time of filling of this report.
Under-17 category games will be held till September 17 after which games for U-21, 21-40 and above 50 categories and para-sports will kickstart.
The 18 games introduced at the district-level include table-tennis, netball, weightlifting, swimming, powerlifting and judo. The matches are being held at 22 venues across the district.
Village sports clubs steal the show
As participation was open for schools, clubs and individuals, the sports clubs being run in villages with the support of the government and dedicated individuals are also stealing the show with their performance in games, especially kabaddi, tug of war and volleyball.
Gurpreet Singh, who is the coach of the volleyball team of Ramgarh Sardara village— 32 km from the city in Malaudh block, said, “Our team won the block-level match and we have also won the first match of the day in the district games; the club in our village was started by ex-players who have also played at the national-level.”
“This is the second time our team is playing at a district-level competition, three players of our U-14 team have been selected for state-level games,” he added.
Taking note of participation of village sports’ clubs, a sports department official said “Villages have well-maintained clubs and sporting culture which are missing in the city. The village sports’ associations also organises annual sports events to boost the morale of players.” He added that grants by the government to the sports club have also helped players to get better training and equipment in the village, clearing their way for national and international events.