President Abdulla Yameen has launched the ‘Y18 Sports Fiesta’ organised by the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives as part of his 2018 re-election campaign with MVR7.5 million (US$490,000) in prize money for winning teams.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony Monday night at the National Art Gallery, Yameen praised the PPM for planning such a large-scale event to “empower the public and showcase the talents of youth”, which he said represents a new chapter in political party activities in the Maldives.
“The youth is the biggest asset to run the state. So we don’t want this asset to be locked up in places and deprived of productivity,” he said.
Since First Lady Fathmath Ibrahim launched Yameen’s re-election campaign in January, the PPM has opened campaign meeting halls in Malé to gear up for next year’s presidential election. In early August, the president’s youth supporters organised a paramotor flying event at the Ekuveni sports complex in the capital.
A PPM spokesman told the Maldives Independent that purpose of the festival is to “showcase the accomplishments of this government in achieving the pledges the president made during the election in 2013.”
According to the PPM, the nationwide sports fiesta will be the biggest held to date in the Maldives. Both male and female teams will compete in volleyball and football tournaments. Champion teams could win cash prizes between MVR50,000 (US$3,242) to MVR200,000 (US$12,970), the highest offered by a privately organised sports event.
The tournaments will be played at atoll level with the Maldives divided into six zones. Successful teams will qualify for a zonal tournament followed by a national level stage with zone champions.
Each team taking part in the atoll level tournament will be provided with MVR15,000 (US$970) for preparations, while each team that qualifies for the zonal tournament will get MVR50,000 (US$3240) and each team that qualifies for the national level will be given MVR100,000 (US$6485), excluding the prize money to be awarded to winners, runner-ups and fair play teams.
Champion teams will win a total of MVR3.7 million (US$244,800) in both the futsal and volleyball tournaments.
“Almost half of the Maldivian population will partake in this festival, open to sports teams from all around the country,” the president’s office said.