GILGIT (ET): Rama polo festival ended on Thursday, with the Diamer team clinching the trophy and beating Gilgit 10 – 1.
According to a rough estimate, more than 25,000 spectators attended the final which was held in the scenic Astore valley’s tourist hotspot Rama – around 110 kilometres from Gilgit.
“It was a match worth watching. Both the teams played well, but luck was not on Gilgit’s side,” said Afridi, a resident of Astore. There was immense energy and excitement among both the players and spectators, he added.
Thousands of people had made their way to Rama from Diamer valley to support their team.
Gilgit – Baltistan’s (G-B) government organised the three-day festival with much fanfare to make up for the cancellation of the Shandur polo festival. Floods triggered by monsoon rains in G-B and Chitral in August had resulted in cancellation of the festival held annually at the world’s highest polo ground in Shandur.
The match was attended by G-B Force commander Hafiz Masroor Ahmed, advisor to chief minister Sadia Danish and DG Gilgit Scouts, among others.
The winning and runner-up teams were awarded cash prizes by commander Masroor. The chief guest lauded the performance of the players and the enthusiasm of the participants. “I love the people of the area as I have spent quite a long time here during my service,” he said at the closing ceremony.
Danish said she was impressed with the enthusiasm shown by the residents to make the event a success. “We worked hard to make this event successful, especially after the Shandur festival was cancelled.” The event was attended by a large number of women from Rama and its surrounding areas.
A special polo match on donkeys was among the festival’s many attractions.