Indo-Bangladesh ‘friendship’ games take off

February 23rd, 2008 - 1:20 pm ICT by admin  

Dhaka, Feb 23 (IANS) ‘Sports for Friendship’ is the theme of the Bangla Games between athletes of Bangladesh and India that got off to a colourful start here. Head of the caretaker government in Bangladesh Fakhruddin Ahmed inaugurated the five-day-long second Indo-Bangladesh Bangla Games 2008 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium Friday amid an euphoric mood among the athletes and spectators.

Fakhruddin Ahmed said the games, to become an annual event, could pave the way for greater understanding and cooperation in other areas between the two South Asian neighbours.

“In the era of globalisation, we will have to flourish also in the sports arena alongside flourishing of education, culture, industry and economics. New example of success will have to set up in the sports world,” he said.

A total of 469 athletes, 231 of them from India’s West Bengal state, are participating in nine disciplines-athletics, football, basketball, kabaddi, kho-kho, shooting, swimming, volleyball, and cricket, United News of Bangladesh (UNB) news agency said.

Fakhruddin Ahmed hoped that the games would open up new horizons in attaining skill in sports by athletes of the two countries.

“Players of the two countries will strengthen the bond of friendship by coming closer to each other through this competition. Besides, they will create a new chapter of success in the international sporting arena through combined efforts,” Fakhruddin said.

President of Bangladesh Olympic Association and President of South Asia Olympic Council General Moeen U. Ahmed and Bengal Olympic Association (West Bengal) President Paresh Nath Mukherjee also spoke at the inaugural function.

General Moeen in his speech said the games would further strengthen the bond of friendship between Bangladesh and India. “Such efforts to improve ties between the two neighbours will continue,” he said according to The Daily Star newspaper.

At the outset of inauguration of the event, four paratroopers of Bangladesh army, carrying the national flags of Bangladesh and India, the flag of the Bangladesh Olympic Association and of the Indo-Bangladesh Bangla Games, descended on the stadium ground one after another.

The participating athletes staged a march past and gave salute to the chief adviser. Later, an impressive cultural programme was staged.

Secretary general of the Olympic Council of Asia Raja Randhir Singh and Indian High Commissioner, Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty were present at the function.

The first Bangla Games took place in February 2007 in Kolkata.

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