Horse racing is regaining its popularity in rural areas in Panchagarh district. Several organisers under different banners have been arranging the traditional competition at different locations for the last three years.
Locals say that several more horse races will be held in other villages of the district in the current winter season.
Assistant Professor of History of Boda Women's College told this correspondent that eight years ago some youths of Shaldanga village under Debigonj upazila organised a horse race under the banner of Hathath Committee at the village on December 18 to mark Victory Day.
The huge response from the people inspired them to make it an annual event at the same venue on the same day every year. About 20-25 participants from Panchagarh, Thakurgaon, Dinajpur and Nilphamary districts participate in the competition and the race is held at different places of the district.
When contacted, president of the Hathath Committee, Kamruzzaman Jewel told The Daily Star that the old village tradition of horse racing is on the verge of extinction. “To revive the sport, we organised the event. Many youths are seen practicing horse riding in different villages of Panchagarh district round the year, which is a big source of satisfaction for me,” he said.
Abdullah Hel Kafi, a horse rider from Nilphamary district, told The Daily Star that he had become a well known figure to thousands of people in Panchagarh district as he had been participating in the horse race for several years.
A successful horse races was held recently at the adjoining field of Boda Palli Biddut Office under Boda Upazila.
Divisional Commissioner Md. Jasimuddin attended the event as chief guest and seven Deputy Commissioners of different districts under Rangpur Division were special guests.
The competition had 20 participants from Thakurgaon, Panchagarh and Nilphamari districts. Of the participants nine were selected for the final round.
In the final competition Abdullah-hel-Kafi of Domer village under Domar upazila in Nilphamari won the first prize, the second prize was wrested by Mohammad Ainal, a student of class VII of Pachpir village under Boda upazila in Panchagarh and the winner of the third prize was Tulu of Debigonj upazila headquarter.
The winners were given a colour television and bicycle and each participant was also given prizes.