Brilliant cyclist Naeem wins Tour de Sindh in stylePakistan
KARACHI: Brilliant and hardworking cyclist Naeem Ahmed won the ninth edition of Tour De Sindh here in style as he secured 50 points on reaching Karachi from Thatta in the final round of 14-day long 1600km race on Sunday.
The highly successful and incident free cycle race was launched after a gap of eighteen year with the effort of the Provincal Department of Sport and Youth Affairs, headed by Sports Minister Sindh Sardar Mohammad Bux Khan Mahar and Secretary Sports Sindh Saleem Raza who not only believed in the event but provided tremendous support towards ensuring the best arrangements and safety of the cyclists throughout the race.
The ninth edition of the race was the longest one as the cyclist covered the distance of 1600km from Ghotki to Karachi traveling through 22 districts with 14 stops in major cities. In almost every city and district that the cyclists went through during the 1600km race, the provincial administration took good care of them and distributed handsome cash prizes for every stage to keep the cyclists motivated for the race despite the scorching heat and tough condition. The entire race was brilliantly coordinated by senior adviser Musheer Rabbani.
“We had the Idea that the cyclists should also get the opportunity to take part in a mega event that carries prestige and a handsome prize money, so that this sport also gain the interest of youth,” said Mahar while speaking to Dawn. “Also another idea was to show the world and people of Pakistan that Sindh is a peaceful province and that is why the race went through every districts of Sindh and also to show the heritage sites of Sindh.”
He said that the all around the world cycling is a major sport but in Sindh the cyclists countered scorching heat and lot of hurdles but were fantastic in their effort. This race will surely revive cycling as sport here and will attract newcomers.”
“After a great success in this event we are planning to hold even bigger event next year with participation of foreign players but for that we will have to take the level of the race even higher and securer stage in Sindh,” said Mahar.
The winners of each stop was awarded with a cash prize of Rs10,000 while the second and third won Rs8000 and Rs6000 respectively. On reaching the final stage that is Steel Mill in Karachi the Cyclist rode to Sea View where they were welcomed by the Sindh Olympic Association and other officials too.
The winner of Tour De Sindh Naeem Ahmed was awarded a price money of one million rupees while the runner-up Ali Ilyas and third placed Mohammad Irfan were awarded by Rs 800,000 and Rs 600,000 respectively.
Besides, the fourth, fifth and sixth position holders were awarded with Rs 200,000 each.
“This is a great effort of the Sindh sports department and Mahar sahib. I haven’t seen a sports minister and a sports secretary in Pakistan who takes so much interest in a sport and its players. Their efforts are purely for the players and for the sport in the province,” said Pakistan Cycling Federation president Idrees Haider Khawaja.
In all, 80 cyclists took part in the race but only 45 were able to reach Karachi the rest either fell ill, or had injury and were disqualified for some reasons. But the injured players were provided the required medication on the spot as an ambulance and security officals constantly accompanied the cyclists.
Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2017