| Updated at: 2351 PST, Wednesday, December 01, 2010|
LAHORE: The Organizing committee of 31st National Games is meditative of including football and hockey in the biennial Games being held from December 25-31 at Peshawar.
National Games offer 25 sports for men and seven for women. Women swimming and shooting contests will be held in Islamabad due to lack of facilities in Peshawar, authorities had earlier decided to include 28 games in the event but football, hockey and cycling were later dropped.
After Pakistan football and hockey team proved themselves in Asian Games, many people showered praise on the teams and now Pakistan Olympics Association (POA) are considering to include the thrilling outdoor sports in the event's fold.
Earlier, POA decided to exclude as many as 12 outdoor disciplines on grounds of security in the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa. However, POA was criticized for snubbing major sports from the national games and many advised to move the games from the province if the conditions were so bad.
It will be sixth Games on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after 1958, 1974, 1982, 1990 and 1998 at Peshawar that saw change of name by NA on 8 April this year. The same city saw the debut of football in 1982 with PAF winning the gold.
Certainly national games would not have the gloss without hockey and football. And since Pakistan has won gold medal in Asian Games after 20 years, and U23 football team gained a point for the first time since 1974 Asian Games, so all the sympathies are now with football and hockey and they would likely to be included in the National Games.
Meanwhile, Secretary Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi said here on Tuesday that POA's explanation of snubbing football was on the security grounds as football is an outdoor game.
"However, if one outdoor sports could be included and be provided with security, certainly other sports also have the right to be included in the national mega event," Ahmed said. He further said that football is one of the most popular sports in the country and its popularity is increasing day by day.