Tent pegging popular within a particular circle of Pakistan

Tent pegging
In Pakistan Tent pegging is known as Neza Bazi.

Tent pegging is a sport that originated in the Arabian Peninsula and evolved in Central Asia. Since the 4th Century BC, this cavalry sport has been spread throughout the world. The International Federation of Equestrian recognises tent pegging as one of the ten equestrian disciplines. The game was introduced as an official international sport in the Olympic Council of Asia in 1982.

A jockey, holding a lance or sword, rides a horse at a gallop across a straight course of 130-200 meters with the help of the lance or sword. The jockey picks up wooden or cardboard pegs, which are stuck on the ground. Each peg is placed 1-2.5 meters apart. According to different events, rules are implemented specifying the size and composition of the target, number of pegs put on a course, the proportion of the weapon, the time limit and the degree to which a peg must be struck. Also, the jockey is required to be at a particular speed while crossing the finishing line. The points are deducted if the time limit is not met or if the jockey has not completed the race.

Tent pegging

In Pakistan Tent pegging is more commonly known as ‘Neza Bazi’. It’s mostly played in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and some parts of Sindh and Balochistan. There are many clubs where they distinguish themselves by wearing turbans in a different and unique style as well as wearing different waistcoats. Inter-club tournaments are organised frequently. Shows, such as National Horse and Cattle show, where tent pegging is a part of these events is arranged for many decades. It is usually at the end of February or first week of March in the Fortress Stadium, Lahore where various clubs take part in the sport.

Pakistan is one of the 28 members of the recognised international governing body of Tent pegging and organises many local tent pegging competitions in the country. The national tent pegging competition was held in March 2015 in Lahore, which was organised at Rangers headquarters Polo Ground, where Islamabad bagged the first position.

Malik Ata Muhammad Khan is the first elected president of the Equestrian & Tent pegging Federation of Pakistan. He has also represented Pakistan on several occasions such as the 1982 Hyde Park games in London, the annual Royal Adelaide Show 2010 held in Adelaide, South Australia and recently in 2013 he organized an international Tent pegging competition at the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad. The event held in Faisalabad witnessed international teams from South Africa, England and a team from the UN. Jenna Copley, a member of the team from England, appreciated Khan’s hospitality and called him a ‘generous patron of the Tent pegging.

This equestrian sport is a step forward in ascertaining Pakistan as a country of many talents and the diversity that we house. The sport is popular within a particular circle and shows a soft image in an otherwise negative coverage of the country in local and international media.

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