AT-KABUL: Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, inaugurated the 12th South Asian Games (SAG). SAG will continue in Guwhati and Shillong till February 16, a media statement said.
According to the statement, the games were inaugurated by Modi at a gala ceremony which saw participation from all the eight SAARC member-states, including Afghanistan.
In his address Prime Minister Modi mentioned the role of sports for all round development of one’s personality, including the inculcation of the all important sportsman spirit. Highlighting the spirit of cooperation that exists between the South Asian countries, Prime Minster Modi called for these games to be springboard for bringing peace and prosperity to the region and help South Asia is realizing its potential. These games exemplify teamwork, togetherness and talent of the whole of South Asia, which hosts 21 percent of the World’s population and contributes nine percent to the World’s economy.
A 202 strong contingent of sportspersons and officials from Afghanistan is participating in the 12th SAG. The contingent includes 102 sportsmen who will compete in 16 sporting disciplines and 49 sportswomen competing in 10 disciplines. With a view to encourage strong participation of an Afghan contingent in these games, India has under its ‘Aid-to-Afghanistan’ program provided support to the Afghanistan National Olympic Committee for transportation, boarding and lodging for Afghan sportspersons and officials .
It is India’s belief that Afghan sportspersons, despite considerable challenges and insecurity, have trained hard and have maintained exemplary level of sporting performance and deserve the support of India and other international partners of Afghanistan so that they can continue to compete with other athletes of the world to enhance the spirit of understanding and camaraderie between the peoples and nations of the world.
This is the same belief that has guided India to render assistance to Afghanistan Cricket Board in constructing a cricket stadium in Kandahar, as well as making available a home ground to the Afghan National Cricket Team in Greater Noida in India. It shall continue to be India’s endeavor to support Afghan sportsmen in future as well, the statement added.