Nepal's President Bhandari declares the South Asian Games open

KATHMANDU: the 13 South Asia Games formally began on Sunday with the president of Nepal Bidya Devi Bhandari declaring them open during a colorful ceremony in the Dasharath Stadium .

Bhandari's formal announcement to open the Games with the seven nations of South Asia was followed by fireworks and cultural shows at a gala performance. The opening ceremony began with the march of the athletes.

Around 15,000 spectators attended the opening ceremony that took place in the midst of strict security measures.

The SAG will take place from December 1 to 10 in three cities: Kathmandu, Pokhara and Janakpur, with the participation of around 2,700 athletes.

Athletes from Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Maldives, Bhutan and Sri Lanka will compete in 26 different sports disciplines.

Krishnasar (the blackbuck antelope) is the official mascot of the 13th SAG.

During the 10-day Games, athletes will compete for 1119 medals, including 319 gold.

Addressing the audience during the opening ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Ishwor Pokharel, said the SAG will help promote friendship and cooperation among the countries of South Asia.