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Chitral picks trophy as colourful Shandur Polo festival concludes

CHITRAL: The Chitral team on Monday retained the Shandur Polo title in a one-sided affair and defeated the Gilgit-Baltistan 10-5 goals in the decider played at the world’s highest polo ground in the valley.

Inspector General of Frontier Corps (IG FC) Major General Waseem Ashraf was the chief guest at the concluding ceremony.

Deputy Speaker Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly Jaffarullah, Minister for Tourism Gilgit-Baltistan Fidaullah, ambassadors of various countries, a good number of local and foreign tourists, former polo players and officials of Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (TCKP) were also present.

The final was played between the Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral teams at the recently renovated polo ground.

The Chitral team dominated the match right from the beginning and scored one after another goal.

It was a one-sided affair all along before the Gilgit-Baltistan team recovered in the last round of the game and scored five goals. The Chitral won the trophy 10-5 goals.

The polo teams of Chitral, Gilgit, Laspur and Ghizer participated in the event, which is a permanent feature of the annual sports calendar of Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The corporation has allocated Rs40 million for the festival.

The polo game has now acclaimed international fame and every year thousands of visitors and tourists from downtown districts and foreign countries come to Chitral to watch the grand gala.

The traditional dances of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan’s were also presented during the festival.

The event also included showcasing of work of local artisans and cultural nights. The tourists enjoyed cultural, songs and traditional dances.

A beautiful display of fireworks was also carried at night time during the festival.

The paratroops of Special Services Group performed paragliding and received applause from the spectators.

Stringent security arrangements had been put in place during the 3-day festival where hundreds of personnel of the Chitral scouts and police were deployed for smoothly holding the event.

This year is considered good for the tourism sector in the district as a huge number of local and foreign thronged festivals as compared to the previous years.

Later, IG FC Major General Waseem Ashraf gave away trophies and cash prizes to the winners and runners-up team.

The winning teams were awarded Rs100,000/ and runner-up Rs90,000 cash.

The three-day Shandur polo festival began in the highest polo ground of the world on Saturday. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Caretaker Chief Minister Justice (r) Dost Mohammad Khan had inaugurated the event.

The chief minister had announced Rs1 million, Rs0.7 million and Rs0.5 million for the first, second and third-place winners, respectively, on behalf of the provincial government.

On the first day, Laspur team of Chitral won the inaugural match against Ghizar team of Gilgit-Baltistan.

There were a number of other programmes, showcasing work of local artisans and skilled entrepreneurs. Cultural nights, folk music, paragliding and traditional dances of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan and grand fireworks were the other features of the three-day gala.

The DC Chitral has congratulated the Chitral team for winning the Shandur Polo Festival 2018. “It adds 4th in a row holding the title of champions – it’s not over, we shall meet again next year, same date, same venue.”

He also thanked German Ambassador to Pakistan Martin Kobler for attending the festival on his invitation.

“Your presence is a sign of encouragement for Chitral and will definitely project the soft Image of Chitral to outer world for promotion of tourism. Enjoy your time at Shandur and Chitral,” said the DC Chitral.

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