They came, they ran and they conquered the heart of the capital for their sporting spirit as the four-day Bal Olympiad drew to a close at Moinul Haque Stadium on Wednesday.
Not only the 600 students, who received medals and certificates for their exploits in athletics and other sporting events, were a smiling lot, those who could not win any medal appeared equally happy as they cheered for the champions at the prize distribution ceremony. For them, participating in the event was a major achievement in itself.
According to the organisers, 7,500 children from 24 districts of Bihar participated in the four-day event organised by Kilkari Bihar Bal Bhavan, a unit of the education department.
Ramashish Kumar, a Class X student of Gyan Bharti Residential Complex School, Bodhgaya, who clinched the first position in the 800m race, said he was very happy to participate in Bal Olympiad.
"The certificates awarded to us are issued by the government. These will help us in getting jobs when will apply for government jobs in future," he said.
Swikriti Kumari Karn, a 12-year-old girl from Madhubani, said she was happy to be a part of the event despite not winning any medal in karate. She said: "I got to see many prominent personalities for the first time at the event."
The prize distribution ceremony saw a number of dignitaries, including Ramdeo Prasad, the chairperson of State Child Labour Commission, Nisha Jha, the chairperson of State Child Rights Protection Commission, Nirpun Gupta, a communication specialist of Unicef, and Vinay Kumar, the director of the art, culture and youth affairs department.
"The event was a major platform for hundreds of budding sportspersons from across the state," Kumar said.
Addressing the prize distribution ceremony, Jha talked about the rights of the children and appreciated the effort of the Kilkari Bihar Bal Bhavan to organise the event.
"Sports make children physically strong and mentally alert. It has been scientifically proved that children usually feel happy when they take part in any form of sports," said Gupta.
The organisers said competitions were held in five categories ' athletics, kabaddi, kho-kho, voleyball and karate. Separate events were held for boys and girls.
"The best part of the event was that children from far-flung places came to Patna and participated in the event despite the cold condition. This shows how much they love sports," said Mrinal Sisodia, one of the organisers.