PESHAWAR   -   The 33rd National Games will start from October 21, in which, a total of 12,000 athletes from at least 12 different organisations to take part.

Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the event while President of Pakistan Arif Alvi to grace as chief guest at the closing ceremony to be held on October 27. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Senior Minister for Sports Atif Khan announced this on Tuesday during a news conference held here at Secretary Sports Office.

Flanked by Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) President Lt Gen (r) Arif Hassan, POA Secretary Khalid Mehmood, Secretary Sports KP Kamran Rehman, MD Tourism Corporation KP Junaid Khan and DG Sports Asfandiyar Khan, Atif Khan said that KP government, POA, KP Olympic Association and Directorate of Sports KP are on one page in organising the games in a better way.

He said a total of 12,000 athletes from 12 different units including Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Navy, Punjab, Pakistan Police, Sindh, Balochistan, Wapda, Railways, HEC, Gilgit-Baltistan, Islamabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and host Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will take part in the mega event.

Atif Khan said the Games would cost Rs 170 million and certainly it would portray a soft image of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in rest of the world. “We are peace loving and believe in peace and through this mega national games, we want to give a message of peace to the rest of the world,” he added.

He said for the smooth sailing of the National Games, different committees would be constituted along with POA, KP OA and Directorate of Sports KP and it would be ensured that the players would be provided international standard facilities at all venues.

About holding of 22 different Olympic disciplines, Atif Khan disclosed that they have international-standard facilities at Abdul Wali Khan Sports Complex, Charsadda, Hayatabad Sports Complex, Peshawar and Peshawar Sports Complex and want to hold some disciplines in the merged tribal districts.

“Initially two venues have been selected in the merged tribal district Khyber and North Waziristan. In Khyber, we have multipurpose Jamrud Sports Complex and North Waziristan Younis Khan Stadium which could hold the national games events. The players will be provided with the best available facilities to make this event a memorable.”

About the participation of Asian neighboring countries in National Games, Atif Khan said: “Invitations to Afghanistan and other neighboring countries would be sent through foreign office to fulfill the International Olympic Committee (IOC) motto of spreading peace through Games.”

POA chief Gen Arif Hassan on this occasion disclosed that talks with Afghanistan Olympic Association, Olympic Association of Sri Lankan, China, Bangladesh and India are continued to participate in the forthcoming National Games and hopefully positive result would be come up.

It would be a big mega event of the country and participating of countries from Asia would give good name to Pakistan. He said he held meeting with Chief Minister KP Mahmood Khan and Corps Commander Peshawar Lt Gen Shaheen Mazher Mahmood, who extended all-out support for holding the best ever national games in Peshawar.

The POA chief said during his meeting with Chief Minister, he assured all-out support to POA, both financially and morally. About his meeting with Corps Commander Peshawar Lt Gen Shaheen Mazhar Mahmood, Gen Arif said that they discussed in detail provision of security during the national games.

Gen Arif said besides ensuring security by Pakistan Army to the players and officials and visiting teams, the Army Para-troopers team, international motor-bike displaying team, army band and the contingents of Mahsud, Khattak, Chitrali and Batani fold dances teams of Frontier Constabulary (FC) would also be part of the national games.

He also disclosed that POA has assured govt of Balochistan for holding the 34th edition National Games and hopefully by then, all the required infrastructures for National Games in Quetta would be completed. It is worth mentioning here that KP Olympic Association has vast experience of holding such Games for six times in 1958, 1974, 1982, 1990, 1998 and 2010 and it will be the seventh time to get such honor.