The stage is set for the popular Kila Raipur sports festival, which will begin at the Grewal sports stadium in the village on Thursday.
However, the main attraction of the festival — the bullock cart races — will not be organised this year. Though the sports association had sought permission to organise these races earlier, on Wednesday they said that they will abide by the SC ruling that bans such races across the country.
Replacing the bull races will be the horse races, which will be made more elaborate to add to the attractions, said Jagbir Singh Grewal of the Grewal Sports Association.
This will be the 79th Kila Raipur rural sports festival. “Earlier, horse races used to be on a single horse or double horse. Now, we will be doing it on the lines of the bullock cart races — single animal race, two horses, three horses and four horses being driven by a single rider. The time of bullock cart races will be given to the horse races. Apart from this, there will be more participation in athletics, kabaddi and dog show. The prize money will be distributed among these events,” said Sukhbir Singh Grewal of the sports association.
A budget of Rs 30-35 lakh has been allotted to the festival, of which nearly 50 per cent will be spent on prize money, boarding and lodging of players, he added.
Hockey, basketball and rare acts by individuals will be part of this festival apart from cultural programmes. Since it is a popular festival, NRIs plan trips to Punjab during this time. Also, most organisers are NRIs. Jassi Khangura, former Congress MLA, said the games were expected to attract many NRIs this season too.
The sports association has a historical 100 kg pure gold cup and a 50 tola silver cup, which are kept in bank lockers and taken out only on the day of the prize distribution. These cups are awarded to the first and second prize winners of the hockey tournament. The trophies are returned to the lockers after the event.
The event will be inaugurated by Punjab minister Sharanjeet Singh Dhillon, while Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu will also be part of the festival. CM Parkash Singh Badal and minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon will be present for the prize distribution, said Gagandeep Singh Grewal, a member of the sports committee.