Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has emphasised the importance of preserving traditional sports in Bangladesh to instil the virtues they espouse into future generations.
"Our boys and girls must ensure that our traditional games do not fade into oblivion. They are very talented and will perform well [in sports] if given the opportunity. We must excel in all kinds of games," she said while virtually inaugurating the final round of 52nd National Winter Games in Rajshahi on Wednesday.
Hasina highlighted the need to revive traditional games like 'Hadudu' and 'Danguli' on a wider scale, noting that the country's founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a patron of sports.
It was Bangabandhu who initiated the winter games after independence, she said.
Hasina believes Bangladeshis have received ample opportunities to engage in sports since independence. "They have been able to prove themselves in the international arena."
The prime minister recalled that her family was full of sports enthusiasts.
Although football is the most popular sport in Bangladesh, efforts should be made to attract people to traditional games, she said.
Participating in sports serves as an excellent form of physical exercise for children, promoting not only competition but also fostering friendships, according to Hasina.
"Children learn about unity and team spirit by participating in games and sports. Hence, our government has attached a great deal of importance to sports."
Hasina highlighted her government's initiatives to promote sports, including the Bangamata Football Tournament for girls in primary school, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Football Tournament for boys and other interschool sports competition.
Through interschool, intercollege and interuniversity sports competitions, children and young people are able to develop physical fitness as well as cognitive skills, Hasina said.