ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The autonomous Kurdistan Region on Saturday marked its first annual Kurdistan Sports Day, to be held every year on April 20, with over 20 different sports activities across the region.
Although the day has not yet been officially recognized by the Kurdistan regional parliament as a national holiday, a local NGO came up with the initiative and organized the event to promote sports in the region.
Among the activities set to take place are a friendly football match between Kurdistan and Iraq teams in Shahid Faranso Hariri Stadium (at 5:00 p.m. local time), a marathon, a bicycle race, a tennis competition, a swimming race, rugby matches, a basketball game for disabled people, kickboxing, karate, bowling, billiards, and a ping-pong match, along with others activities across the region.
“It is a very good decision to have a sports day,” Sarbast Sadiq, a marathon participant in Duhok, told Kurdistan 24.
“Sports are important for our health in general, and having a day for sports sends a message to all people that we need to get away from our daily routines and move,” he said.
People from the Kurdistan Region, Iraq and abroad participated in the event.
“I came all the way from Najaf city,” a 64-year-old man told Kurdistan 24 after crossing the marathon's finish line.
“I thank everyone who contributed to organizing all these activities. It is very well organized.”
Kurdistan 24 is the media sponsor of the event.
Many countries across the globe hold a national sports day, including India (Aug. 29), Iran (Oct. 17), Japan (Oct. 10), Malaysia (Oct. 10), and Qatar (the second Tuesday in February).
Editing by John J. Catherine