CHITRAL: Chitral A team has consecutively for the sixth time won the famous polo championship as the three-day Shandur Festival concluded on Tuesday.
Man of the match, Izhar Ali Khan’s splendid performance with five of the six goals sealed the victory for his team against Gilgit A (6-5). It was a close contest as Chitral won by a margin of one goal at the world’s highest polo ground. The sixth goal was scored by captain Shahazada Sikandar. The winning team scored the decisive goal in last few minutes.
The Shandur Polo Festival is an annual mega event held from July 7 to 9 at Laspur valley on Shandur Pass in Upper Chitral, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The festival kicked off on Sunday and Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan had inaugurated the event along with other dignitaries. KP Minister for Tourism Atif Khan was also present on this occasion. Talking to media, Mahmood Khan had stated that KP had world’s best tourism potential and Shandur festival was one of the best tourist attraction events. He had said that the KP government was working to promote tourism as much as possible.
About 50,000 people including tourists from different parts of the country and abroad and residents of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral attended the Shandur festival which also features paragliding and cultural dance among other interesting games.
The festival has gained international fame and thousands of visitors and tourists come to watch the grand gala which features all-illustrious polo competition as a centrepiece.
The traditional dances of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan are staged, work of local artisans are showcased, fireworks are displayed and paratroops of Special Services Group perform paragliding during the festival, which has been held annually since 1936.
Last month, the residents of Upper Chitral, the newly-formed district, had threatened to boycott the Shandur festival for the government had failed to fulfill the promise of development of road infrastructure which was causing life-threatening accidents.
The residents of the area are not happy with the provincial and federal governments for their demand of construction of Booni to Shandur/Yarkhoon road has not yet been fulfilled. Ramshackle arteries lead to serious traffic accidents every so often.