Kite-flying, bullock cart races and more at ‘rural Olympics’!

December 3rd, 2008 - 9:41 am ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Dec 3 (IANS) Guess where you can see some pulse-racing bullock cart races, gulli danda, kite-flying and other traditional Indian games? At the first-ever homegrown ‘Rural Olympics’ being organised in Uttar Pradesh later this month.What’s more, winners will not be given medals or trophies but awards that can be useful to them every day like loads of ghee and cooking oil!

“The stage is set. The four-day Rural Olympics that will tap hidden talent in the villages will start here Dec 18,” A.K. Saxena, general secretary of the Uttar Pradesh Non-Olympic Association (UPNOA), told IANS.

The UPNOA is involved with the promotion of ancient, traditional and cultural games.

The intention behind organising the Rural Olympics is to “revive the host of traditional and indigenous games that have lost their importance to modern-day glamorous games for one reason or other”, said a UPNOA member.

The Rural Olympics will draw participants not only from Uttar Pradesh but also from Haryana, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

“Our counterparts based in Haryana and West Bengal have already confirmed their participation. Taking this into account, we expect as many as 1,000 participants to converge here for the event,” said Saxena.

“Last year too we had organised sporting events for the villagers. But this is for the first time we are doing it in a big way.”

The Rural Olympics will be held in the Gomti Nagar stadium in the Chinhat area here.

“The Rural Olympics will have games for everyone - children, youth, men and women. The games have been selected in such a way that there can be maximum representation for a particular game,” said Saxena.

There will be as many as 40 different games, including tug-of-war, stone throwing, rope-skipping, kite-flying, half-marathon and filling buckets with water drawn from wells within a stipulated time.

And there will be no trophies and medals as these may not hold much importance for rural participants, said UPNOA members, adding villagers want to get rewarded with items they can use daily.

“Considering this, we will give items like containers of ghee, packets of cooking oil, blankets, clothes, stock of cereals and several such items that don’t have to be kept as showpieces in there homes,” said Saxena.

Cash prizes would also be given to some select winners.

“If games like kabaddi, kho-kho and wrestling (called dangal in Hindi) that have their roots in villages can be accepted nationally, we will strive for natinal acceptace of other rural games as well.”

UPNOA members said the state government was not contributing anything for the event and it was being organised with the help of funds raised by its members.

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