Peshawar: Authorities in Pakistan`s northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province have decided to go ahead with the National Games, which were postponed twice during the past two years, despite the poor security environment in the region.
The event was put off twice due to the security situation in the province and the adjoining tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.
Provincial Sports Minister Syed Aqil Shah, who is also president of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Olympic Association, said the much-awaited 31st National Games will start on December 25.
The theme for the event is "Play for peace".
Shah said the theme of the National Games will send out a message of peace to the entire world.
Special security measures have been put in place for the games.
All preparations have been completed for holding the event.
"The National Games will feature 28 sports, including seven events for women, and a majority of the events will take place in different cities of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa," Shah said.
Rifle shooting, taekwondo, wushu, handball, football and swimming events will be held in Islamabad. The games will continue till December 31 and over 7,000 athletes from across the country are scheduled to participate in the event.
The hockey tournament will be played in Abbottabad while baseball will be played in Mardan.
The rowing competition will take place at the Khanpur Lake in Haripur.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will be the guest of honour at the opening ceremony while President Asif Ali Zaradri will be the chief guest at the closing ceremony.