The first ever Bangladesh Youth Games was formally inaugurated through a colorful ceremony at the country's premier venue Bangabandhu National Stadium here yesterday evening.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formally opened the Youth Games through a gala ceremony, featuring a laser show, fireworks and a grand cultural event as the chief guest.
Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the games and Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, events steering committee chair and Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) President army chief General Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Huq, State Minister for Youth and Sports Dr Biren Shikdar, Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports Arif Khan Joy, BOA Secretary General Syed Shahed Reza and other distinguished guests were present in the inauguration ceremony.
The inauguration ceremony began showing video of different games of first phase. Then the athletes of eight divisions took part in the spectacular march past who entered the ground one after another by waving miniature national flag and BOA flag.
After that country's fame shooter Asif Hossain Khan, who won gold in Commonwealth Games and SAF Games, lit the torch of the Tk 20 crore budget of the games.
The U-17 athletes represented eight divisions in football, hockey, kabaddi, basketball, volleyball, handball, athletics, swimming, table tennis, weightlifting, wrestling, wushu, shooting, archery, badminton, boxing, chess, judo, karate, taekwondo and squash.
The football event already began before the opening ceremony. The Games will conclude on March 16.
Now 2,660 athletes are vying for medals in 159 events across 21 disciplines. As many as 340 gold and silver medals and 430 bronze medals will be distributed among the winners as there are a total of six team disciplines.
Earlier, the first phase of the Games started across all 64 districts simultaneously on December 18 with the participation of around 27,000 athletes at the district level. From there, about 6,500 qualified for the divisional phase.