NEW DELHI, Jan 17 - The Torch Relay of the 12th South Asian Games, 2016 was launched at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, here this morning. Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Sarbananda Sonowal, high officials of IOA, and eminent sports personalities were present.
India is hosting the 12th South Asian Games, 2016 in Guwahati and Shillong from February 5 to 16.
The ceremony started with the handing over of the Torch by IOA president N Ramachandran to the Minister who is also the Chairman of the Organising Committee. Sonowal lit the Torch and handed it over to Jaffar Iqbal and Kunjurani Devi for the start of the Relay to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The Torch was received by secretary general, IOA, Rajiv Mehta, at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
�The South Asian Games are the symbol of the cohesion, peace and harmony, and sportspersons are the sports ambassadors of their respective countries. The Games will energise the youths of the country. This Torch Relay marks the beginning of the South Asian Games, 2016,� Sonowal said while addressing the gathering.
Eminent sports personalities Jaffar Iqbal, Gopichand, Kunjarani Devi, Rajkumar Sangwan, Seema Poonia, Krishna Poonia, Manjeet Dua, Neha Aggarwal, Gurbaz, Romeo James, Bahadur Singh, Devinder Bhatia and Bimoljit Singh along with volunteers and school children participated in the function.
Besides, the Minister, the function was also attended by president of IOA, N Ramachandran; the Secretary General, IOA; Jt. CEO, OC-SAG Avinash Joshi; Joint secretary (Sports); Onkarmal Kedia and secretary, SAI SS Chhabra.
The South Asian Games (SAG) is a biennial multi-sport event held amongst the athletes from South Asia and is organised in the similar format of Olympics, Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games (CWG).
In this 12th edition of the South Asian Games, athletes from eight member countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be participating. More than 3500 athletes and sports officials from 8 countries are going to participate in the sporting spectacle to be held in the North-East.