South Asian Games
(also known as SAF Games
& formerly known as South Asian Federation Games
) are a bi-annual multi-sport event held among the athletes from South Asia. The governing body of these games is South Asian Sports Council (SASC), formed in 1983. At present, SAG are joined by eight members namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka.
The first South Asian Games were hosted by Kathmandu, Nepal in 1983 and have since been held every two years except for some occasions. In 2004, it was decided in the 32nd meeting of South Asian Sports Council to rename the games from South Asian Federation Games to South Asian Games as the officials believed the word Federation was diminishing the emphasis on event and acting as a barrier in attracting crowd. These Games are often hyped as the South Asian version of Olympic Games.
The SAF Games also helped in promoting cultural exchanges between the member countries. Devoid of any cultural, religious racial or political barriers, the member countries gather together under one banner to create a healthy disciplined show of sportsmanship. The hymn of the Federation clearly expresses the message of goodwill, brotherhood, peace and prosperity:
Sports is our life, Unity our strength Our skills shine through perseverance SAF will prosper through peace and stability, Keep your spirit higher through sports forever!
Undoubtedly, sports are a unique way to break down the barriers of hostility and breed the spirit that brings nations closer together. The motto also signifies the same thought:
PEACE, PERSEVERANCE, PROGRESS
(Athletics), Swimming, Field Hockey, Football, Volleyball Boxing and other smaller team sports are included in the games, every time South Asian Federation added at least 10 sports discipline to above event. Due to a lack of sporting competition among the nations, this multi event sport is seldom of world standards.