—Photo by Dawn
The match between Army and Punjab proved to be thrilling. —File photo by Dawn

PESHAWAR: Pakistan army clinched the 20th National Rugby Championship by upsetting the three-time champions Punjab Greens in the final by 24-10 goals.

The championship was played at Qayyum Sports Complex on Sunday.

Federal Minister for Safron and President Fata Olympic Association Eng Shaukat Ullah was the chief guest on the occasion.

Senator Abdul Raziq Khan, secretary Fata Olympic Association Shahid Khan Shinwari, director general Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sports Board Eng Khanzeb Khan, director sports Faisal Jamil Shah, secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Olympic Association Zulfiqar Butt, hockey Olympian Rahim Khan, former international hockey player Imtiaz Afridi, secretary Pakistan Rugby Federation Arif Saeed and large number of spectators were also present.

Before the start of the match the players of both the teams were introduced to the chief guest.

The match between Army and Punjab proved to be thrilling but the former mostly dominated the proceedings. Army played with pack defence and did not give much time to Punjab to settle down. Army took the lead through Zafar who run down the flank with a clear goal, followed by another one five minute later. Zafar scored three individual goals. The Punjab team scored the only goal through Naveed Ahmad.

Earlier, Pakistan Police defeated Balochistan by 17-11 to stand third in the competition. Punjab Whites got fifth position followed by the HEC. Fata got eighth position. The first six position holder teams also qualified for the National Games.

Punjab had the honour of winning the championship for three consecutive times.

At the end, the chief guest gave away winner trophy and Rs20,000 to Pakistan Army while Punjab Greens got runner-up trophy and Rs15,000 cash prize.

Speaking on the occasion Eng Shaukhat Ullah said that it was great honour for the Fata Olympic Association to hold 20th National Rugby Championship with the support of Directorate of Sports Fata. He said the government had prepared a plan to facilitate the youth with all playing facilities. “So far we are holding different sports activities without any financial support from the government side,” said Shaukat Ullah.

“We made requests to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari for financial support but the Fata Olympic Association did not receive a single penny as yet,” he regretted.

The federal minister said the government had initiated various developmental projects in Fata for promoting sports and life standard of the people of the tribal region.

He lauded the efforts of Provincial Minister for Sports Syed Aqil Shah for the promotion of sports in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata in particular. He said the Fata Olympic Association would extend support to him while organising different sports competitions between Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.—APP


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