The 13th South Asian games was kicked off on Sunday at Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu. The opening ceremony was flagged off by the Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari in the presence of Vice President Nanda Kishor Pun. The SAG is being held in Nepal after a gap of 20 years. The last time it was hosted was in 1999.
Other digniteries present in the inaugration were Chief Justice Cholendra Samshur Rana, Nepal Communist Party (NCP) chairperson and former Prime minister Pushpa kumar Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal.The event which is being hosted for the third time in Nepal was inaugrated with full fanfare and grandeur.
The SAG is being held from December 1 to December 10 in three cities across Nepal --Kathmandu, Pokhara and Janakpur. Around 3,000 athletes from seven countries -- Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan , Maldives, Bhutan and Srilanka will be competing for 1,119 medals --324 gold medals and the same number of silver medals in 27 sports discipline.
Participants from India will be participating in 17 out of the total sport disciplines. The games in which India would not be participating includes Cricket, Golf, Karate, Paragliding, Table Tennis, Archery, Taekwondo and Wrestling. The Krishnasar or the blackbuck antelope is the official mascot of the 13th SAG.The schedule of the competetions was announced on Friday.
The grand opening ceremony was held under tight security and attended by around 15,000 spectators including technical delegates from other countries, judges, refrees, tournament directors, media persons and sports lovers. Nepali Cricketer Paras Khadka took oath representing players while Nepal’s Badminton Referee Deepak Thapa took oath on behalf of referees and judges of the games.
A cultural presentation showcasing the rich and traditional heritage of the country was made. Along with the spectacular firework and laser show depicting all the participating countries. The latter remained one of the major attractions in the whole ceremony.