Inter school competitions like debating and painting contests, Polo, Tent Pegging and Archery were some of the events held in Ladakh during the last 20 days so as to commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of the Indian Army troops and the local people in defending Ladakh against Pakistani raiders after the 1947 partition.
The celebrations commenced with an inter school competition including football, volleyball, handball matches, besides debate and painting contests which were organized at Ladakh Scouts Regimental Centre, Phyang, from October 8-10, said a Defence Ministry spokesman Lt Colonel Manish Mehta here. These were followed by T-20 cricket tournament at the newly constructed picturesue Colonel Sonam Wangchuk, MVC, Stadium. Eight teams from all over Ladakh region participated in the tournament, he added.
Polo, Tent Pegging and Archery competitions were also conducted from October 20 – 26. While eight teams from entire Ladakh participated in Polo event, 23 teams participated in Archery and 21 riders in Tent Pegging Competition. The grand finale of the event was conducted on October 26 and it was witnessed by a huge audience, the spokesman added.
Various events conducted during the grand finale included 16 kms and five kms run for both men and women, pipe band display by Pipe Band of Ladakh Scouts, cultural programme by students of TCV (SOS) School, melodious “Op Sadbhavana’’ song by Ladakh’s famous singer Phunchok Ladakhi. The main attraction of the event was finals of Polo match between teams of Drass (A) and Ladakh Scouts (Red), the spokesman said, adding that the keenly contested match was won by latter by a comfortable margin of 12-01.
Pointing out that all these events were conducted by Army under Op Sadbhavana to give an impetus to traditional sports of Ladakh especially Polo and Archery, the spokesman said that in a departure from the usual trend, the chief guest of the grand finale event was neither any officer from military or civil administration, nor politician. The chief guest and the guests of honour were those war veterans and war heroes who fought against Pakistani raiders in 1947 as part of “Nubra Guards’’ under the son of the soil Colonel Chhewang Rinchen, MVC. Seven such war heroes were present to grace the occasion including Honorary Lieutenant Sonam Joldan (chief guest), Padam Shree Sonam Wangial, Lance Naik Sonam Stobdan, Lance Naik Mutup Gurmet, besides Havaldar Punchok Stobdan, and Naik Dorjey Phunchok (Both Vir Chakra), and Naik Abdul Rahman, Sena Medal.
At the end of the event, Rigzin Spalpar, Chief Executive Councillor of the Leh Hill Development Council, felicitated the war heroes and conveyed his appreciation to the entire Fire and Fury Corps and Ladakh Scouts Regimental Centre for successfuln conduct of the event. A memorial service was also held at Leh war memorial where floral tributes were paid to brave martyrs by senior army and civil officers, besides veteran soldiers, gallantry award winners and veer naris.
Speaking on the occasion, Lt General B S Nego, General Officer Commanding of the Fire and Fury Corps stated that the Defenders of Ladakh Remembrance Day celebrations would be held every year.