Ludhiana, Jan 31 : Rural sports continue to draw youth in the villages in Punjab, as was demonstrated during the recent sports meet organized in Samrala.
A joint initiative by the village authorities, the government and non-resident Punjabis, the annual rural sports meet was held to inspire youngsters to take on events like kabaddi, wrestling, athletics and equestrian sports and lead Punjab at the national and international level.
Various competitions, including horse race, bullock cart race and dog race, were organised by the Malwa Sports Association to entertain the spectators who had thronged the venue.
"We feel inspired to quit drugs and liquor and have a healthy body. All the youngsters have drawn inspiration from us and have started imitating us," said one of the participants.
The sports meet is a much-awaited occasion for the Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) who come every year to encourage young sportsmen.
Kiran Singh, a non-resident Indian from Vancouver, Canada, said: "I bring my whole family so that the children are made aware of the rural sports of Punjab. It's better to be skilled in rural sports like kabaddi or wrestling than join a club in a foreign country."
People present at the events said that they felt completely engrossed in the thrilling competitions and they wait eagerly every year for this sports fair.
"We wait the whole year for January when we make a visit to Punjab. Our main aim is to play tournaments. We want to play games here, which we don't play in other countries," said Malkit Singh Dhillon, a visitor from Kolkata.
For many participants, it's a family tradition to take part in the sports meet and win.
The bullock cart race is one of the most striking and popular events in such rural fairs. But, in the modern age, it remains restricted to rural spectators. BY Karan Kapoor