Celebrating Vaisakhi on track and field

Second annual Vaisakhi Festival Track and Field Meet occurs on Sunday

East is set to meet West yet again at the second annual Vaisakhi Festival Track Meet.

The event is a fusion of Western athletic track and field events and South Asian athletic demonstrations and cultural events, and is set to take over Rotary Stadium this Sunday.

Track and field athletes from all over the Lower Mainland, as well as novice athletes from Abbotsford and the surrounding areas who want to try out the events, are also invited to compete at the free event.

The meet gets underway at 9:30 a.m., with youth male, female and Special Olympics athletes competing in hurdles. Sprinting events for youth follow, with the opening ceremonies scheduled for 10:45 a.m.

Both 600 and 800 metre races follow, with a kids fun race finishing up the morning portion of the event. A free Vaisakhi Festival lunch is then served from noon to 2 p.m.

The afternoon sees 200 m, 300 m, 400 m, race walk, javelin, 1200 m, 1500 m, relay races and a tug-of-war contest. Athletes from the age of nine all the way up to masters competitors are set to compete in all the events.

There will also be special events such as bhangra dance, henna hand painting and turban tying on the Community Stage and a demonstration of the Indian-style martial art of Gatka. This is a traditional form of combat-training, developed by Sikhs, in which curved wooden sticks are used to simulate swords in sparring matches.

Special guest dignitaries are also scheduled to speak briefly to welcome both athletes and spectators and help celebrate the day both on and off the playing field. Admission is free.

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