Kathmandu, April 6:

President Dr Ram Baran Yadav declared open the Fifth National Games amidst a grand ceremony here at the Dasharath Stadium today. “I declare open the Fifth National Games,” uttered President Dr Yadav to officially open the Games.

“Sports is an integral part of human life and it has always helped build peace and brotherhood among the people,” said President Yadav. President Yadav expressed confidence that the event will help bind all sectors — caste, regions, community — together. “Irrespective of our diverse ethnicity, cast, region, costume, custom, we are all afterall a Nepali,” said President igniting a loud cheers from the crowd.

Meanwhile, legendary marathoner Baikuntha Manandhar hoisted the Games flag and

taekwondo star Deepak Bista lit the Games torch. Likewise, weightlifter Kamal Bahadur Adhikari and FIFA referee Gyanu Raja Shrestha took oath representing players and officials respectively. The opening ceremony concluded with a heavy fireworks.

Earlier, former marathon runner Jit Bahadur KC, who won the first international medal in the Asian Track and Field Championship held in Manila in 1973, led the march. That was followed by the contingent from Far-Western Development Region, Mid-Western Region, Western Region, Eastern Region, Nepali Army, Nepal Police, Nepal Armed Police Force and finally the hosts Central Development Region.

The march pass was accompanied by performances exhibiting diverse Nepali cultures represented by various groups. Notably, the ceremony also included combined band performance from three security organs — Nepali Army, Nepal Police and Nepal APF Force. Nepali Army helicopter also showered the stadium with flowers.

The opening ceremony witnessed 3173 players and 1636 officials from five Development Regions and three departmental teams — Nepali Army, Nepal Police and Nepal Armed Police Force — march pass at the Dasharath Stadium.

The National Sports Council (NSC) has included 32 disciplines of which 11 games and two women’s events — boxing and weightlifting — have been identified as lacking in infrastructure throughout the nation and the medals won in these games will not be counted while deciding the team champions. In all 289 gold, as many silver along with 410 bronze medals are up for grabs. Team champions will be decided on the basis of medals won in 21 disciplines — football, athletics, boxing (male), teakwondo, karate, weightlifting (male), volleyball, table tennis, kabbadi, wrestling, badminton, wushu, judo, basketball, chess, handball, kho kho, bodybuilding, ITF taekwondo, full contact karate and hockey.

Medals won in golf, billiards and snooker, shooting, archery, squash, soft tennis, lawn tennis, cricket, gymnastics, cycling, swimming, boxing (women), weightlifting (women) will not be counted while determining the champions.

The Central Development Region led the largest contingent with 383 players followed by Eastern Region (340), Far-western Region (334), Western Region (331) and Mid-western Development Region (328) along with 67 coaches/managers each. Likewise, Army led a 216 member team to that of 208 of the Police and 164 of APF. There were also 946 players and 103 officials in those games which will not be accounted for the team championship.

Vice President Paramananda Jha was also present on the occasion.