“I request all the guardians to be attentive regarding their children’s engagement in sports. Sports, running and jumping help boost all sorts of flourishment in terms of physical and mental health. And for that they will not be derailed, she said.

She said these while virtually distributing the ‘National Sports Award’ to 85 sports personalities and organisers from 2013-2021 in recognition to their glorious contributions to the country’s sports arena as the chief guest from her official residence, Gonobhaban.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports organised the programme at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium.

The Prime Minister asked the authorities concerned to provide the award every year for encouraging players as well as organisers and for the overall progress of the sports.

On behalf of the Prime Minister, State Minister for Youth and Sports Md Zahid Ahsan Russel, MP, handed over the awards among the recipients.

Chairman of the ministry’s parliamentary standing committee Abdulla Al Islam Jacob was present while its Secretary Mesbah Uddin delivered the welcome address.

Earlier, the Ministry of Youth and Sports has nominated 85 sports persons and organisers for the prestigious National Sports Award in recognition of their contribution to the country’s sports during 2013 to 2020.

Each awardee will receive an 18-carat of gold medal weighing 25 grams, a cheque of Taka 100,000 and a certificate.

Bangladesh’s founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s second son Shaheed Lt. Sheikh Jamal was given the award (posthumous) as player and organiser for the year 2020.

Sheikh Hasina said that all should realise that sports, physical and cultural practices are essential for building a nation.

“So, we have to encourage all especially the children to play outside home,” she said.

Sports, physical exercise and cultural activities help the children becoming worthy citizen of the country.

In this context, the Prime Minister said that her government is constructing Sheikh Russel Mini Stadium at each upazila across the country.

She expressed her dismay over having inadequate playgrounds in Dhaka, saying, “We have already taken measures to this end. It is necessary to have playgrounds in every area.”

The Prime Minister said they are constructing a complex having stadium and training centre beside the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban for the specially needed children as they have achieved many success for Bangladesh.

She further said Bangladesh had recently won the title of the Bangabandhu Four Nation Physically Challenged Cricket Tournament defeating India, organised on the occasion of the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, at Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Stadium, Cox’s Bazar.

“I have witnessed the match,” she said with a proud voice.

The Prime Minister asked all concerned to give special attention to the specially needed children.

She also asked all to pay special attention to women as they have been doing well in every sector of sports including cricket and football.

The PM, in her speech, also referred to Bangladesh’s U19 Women’s Team’s victory in the 2021 SAFF U19 Women’s Championship defeating India 1-0.

Sheikh Hasina recalled the successes of Bangladesh in sports including the recent first ever Test match win over South Africa at their own field and the win against Pakistan taking part for the first time in the World Cup Cricket in 1999 and the ICC Trophy win and becoming test playing member country in 2000.

“Bangladesh’s success in sports arena from 2009 to 2021 (till the date) has been increasing due to the Awami League government’s timely and visionary measures,” she said.

Since assuming power after the 21 years in 1996, she said her government has been taking every possible measure for the overall development of the sports.

The Prime Minister said they are set to construct stadium at each district to facilitate sports persons with every facility including training as they can cope with the international competitions and achieve more success for Bangladesh.

She said her government has been constructing Sheikh Kamal Sports Complex having a stadium in Cox’s Bazar and a stadium in Sylhet which will add natural beauty of sea and hills respectively.

She also stressed the need for revival of the local or rural sports such as “sat chara” “dangguti” and “hadudu” alongside football, cricket, hockey and volleyball which require less money.

The Prime Minister asked all concerned to arrange the local game competition in inter-school, inter-college and inter-university levels.

Sheikh Hasina described herself a member of sports family as her grandfather, father, brothers and sisters-in-law were players of different games.

“All of our families were involved in sports… there had always been a relation between sports and our family,” she said.

The Prime Minister recalled her family’s involvement in formation of the Abahani Krira Chakra describing Sheikh Kamal as the pioneer of the modern football.

Sheikh Hasina recalled that when she along with her younger sister Sheikh Rehana was leaving Dhaka for Germany, prior to the 15 August, 1975 bloody massacre in which the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with most of his family members were killed, Sheikh Kamal wanted from her (Sheikh Hasina) to bring Adidus company boots for the Abahani players.

But, the boots were not brought in as the 1975 carnage was happened and they had to spend six years in forced exile, she said with emotion charged voice.

The Prime Minister said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had taken measures for the development of sports when he was rebuilding the war ravaged nation and its every institutions as Bangabandhu knew sports is necessary in building a nation.

Bangabandhu had established the National Sports, Bangladesh Football Federation and many other institutions for the development of sports, she added.

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