With the participation of around 23,000 athletes from across the country taking part in 21 different disciplines, the first ever Bangladesh Youth Games is all set to get underway with its first phase in 64 districts Monday.
The Games, which aims to spread the sporting spirit throughout the country, will be the biggest youth (U-17) sports event of the country in terms of the number of participants, as well as the number of disciplines.
The 21 disciplines are - football, kabaddi, hockey, volleyball, handball, athletics, swimming, shooting, archery, table tennis, weightlifting, wrestling, wushu, basketball, badminton, boxing, chess, judo, karate, squash and taekwondo.
The tournament will be held in three phases balancing with the academic schedule of the students. The district phase will conclude Sunday next week from where the top competitors will play in the second phase, scheduled to be held from January 6-15 in seven divisions next year. The final round will be held in Dhaka for seven days, likely to start from March 9.
Among the team events, football has the most number of participants where around 5,000 budding footballers from 360 upazilas are likely to participate. According to the official press release, 3,200 players enlisted for kabaddi. Athletics has the most participants among the individual events where around 4,410 athletes are expected to take part from 315 upazilas. Around 2,632 swimmers would take part from 188 upazilas.
During a press conference Sunday, BOA’s media and publicity committee chairman Sheikh Bashir Ahmed Mamun said they inquired the different sports federations and district organisers before finalising the disciplines. Cricket was cut out due to its “popularity” as well as having its own youth grass-root programme.
BOA joint secretary general Ashikur Rahman Miku informed that cycling federation has activities in only seven districts while kho-kho has only two districts teams, which made the organisers uninterested in adding those disciplines.
Prior to the mega event organised by the BOA, a torch rally was arranged in the districts Saturday. Around 20 sports personalities were nominated as event ambassadors, who are supposed to travel to different districts to inspire the young athletes.