By Sunil Kataria
Qila Raipur (Punjab), Feb.26 : The annual rural olympic games at Qila Raipur Village near Ludhiana is an event that captivates sports lovers from across the country and abroad.
This year too, spectacular performances and daredevil stunts enthralled visitors for four days during the 73rd edition of the event.
Over a million people, including international tourists, converged to watch 4,000 sportspersons perform during the event.
Sukhbir Singh Grewal, an organiser of the games, said: "This is a unique mix of Olympic events and traditional events besides cultural dances, folk singers. We try to showcase the culture of Punjab here. That happens only here in Qila Raipur and that is what makes it so unique." Nihangs or Sikh warriors were the main attraction of the games, winning everyone's heart with their incredible stunts. Everyone admired them for their equestrian skills.
Horse carts, tractors and dogs were also used in the Rural Olympics games.
"It's lively entertainment. As soon as an item draws to a close, the other starts. I am here since the morning and was to have gone for a wash, but couldn't," said a member in the audience.
"The interesting part of the event is that all participants are given enough time to show off their ability. This sports event is so exciting whether it is a tractor race or dog race, it is special of all," said another.
There was no age bar for participants and no entry fee which facilitated large participation.
Non-Resident Indians and foreigners too were enthralled by the sporting spectacle.
"I think that it's important that this event happens every year anyway. And it is also important that sports is happening outside the big Olympics. This is more genuine and real," said Anna, a Finnish tourist.
"I am touched after watching it. A lot of people come from far away to see this special Olympics... It's very interesting," added a German tourist.