Strongmen of Punjab will converge on Kila Raipur

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Chandigarh, Feb 5 (UNI) The Haywards 5000 Kila Raipur Sports Festival unfolds its three-day sporting extravaganza on February 8 at village Kila Raipur, where the strongmen of Punjab will dispaly their skills.

Popularly known as the 'Rural Olympics', the annual rural event this year will see the country's top athletes, 100-metre runner champion Vishal Saxena, 800-metre Gharaunda Ram and the nation's 4 x 100 metres Olympic woman team member, Harwant Kaur in action.

Star-packed Punjab Police and BSF hockey teams and the four best basketball teams of Punjab will also sweat it out for the title.

Large crowds throng the venue to witness the unique feats every year. There is no age bar for this unique event.

From a seven year old to a 70-year-old, they will display their physical prowess and trickery, angling for the prize money which is being doled out for each event by the Grewal Sports Association which has been running this annual carnival for the past 73 years.

Addressing a press conference at the Press Club here today, chief organiser Sukhvir Singh Grewal said that Rs seven to eight lakh prize money would be distributed among the participants.

This year the prize money for each event has been raised to Rs 5,000 for the winner and Rs 3,000 and Rs 2,000 for the first and second runner-up, respectively.

Replying to a question, Grewal said that the organisers may seek the assistance/advise of Athletic Federation of India in connection with dope test.

More than 5,000 sportspersons, both in Olympic and traditional style, will converge on the dusty fields watched by over four lakh spectators and viewed on television as also lovers of this sporting event in Canada and England during the three-day carnival.

Foreign television companies will be competing with the Indian TV channels to shoot the entire three-day bonanza which will include the prized bullock-cart race. The elimination race will see the bulls galloping down with the jockeys balancing precariously on their small carts. This race is the main attraction of the mela.

Prized oxen from all over the region will be participating in the elimination race to be held one day before the inauguration.

Tent pegging will also be a major event which will require clocklike precision and uncanny sense of anticipation as the riders pierce the planted pegs while galloping down on their horses.

The festival on such a large scale has been made possible because of sponsorship by companies who have love for sports high on their agenda.

This year the main sponsors are Hayward 5000 and the co-sponsors are J K Tyres and Ambuja Cement.

Rakesh Kandhari, General Manager (Sales), JK Tyres and Mahesh Ranka, General Manager Relay World Wide also addressed the mediapersons.

Mahesh Ranka, said that Hayward 5000 was happy to be associated with the biggest rural sports festival.

In a press release, Apurv Nagpal, of SAB Miller India, said ''It is now the turn of the strongest men to take Punjab by storm.

Punjabi men are known for their bravery, their strength and endurance. Haywards 5000, which is a hallmark of masculinity, is a perfect complement to the search for excellence amongst Punjab's strongest men''.

J K Tyres will bring in their expertise in international sports to the Kila Raipur festival. They also want a special binding with the farmers for a better awareness of their rural customers.

Two-time Indian Olympic hockey captain and Punjab Sports Director Pargat Singh will inaugurate the Games on February 8.

Union Minister of State for Industry Ashwini Kumar will be the chief guest on Feb 10.

On the second day, the Army Corps Commander of Jalandhar Area will be the chief guest.

The inauguration and closing ceremony will be colourful events with fireworks illuminating the skies. Each evening after the sporting events the spectators and the participants will be regaled by Punjabi folk singers and artistes performing the giddha, bhangra, Rajasthani dance and Haryanvi dance.

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