| Sumo wrestlers at the last edition of the fair . File picture and picture by UB Photos
Jan. 28: After the big men last year, it’s time for the big women to woo crowds to the Sumo arena at the 20th International Guwahati Trade Fair this year.
Among the wrestlers, Sharran Alexander from London, the world’s heaviest sports person weighing over 200kg, is the one to watch out for, at the biggest and oldest fair of the Northeast.
Five male Sumo fighters took the arena and exhibited the traditional Japanese martial art in the 19th edition of the fair.
The duels among the heavyweights apart, the Industries and Trade Fair Association of Assam (ITFAA) in association with National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) is set to make the 20th edition, scheduled for January 30 to February 12 at the Maniram Dewan Trade Centre, bigger than and different from the previous editions.
“Pakistan will be officially participating for the first time, since we shifted from Judges Field in 2004. Over the years, the trade fairs in general have featured Indian traders selling goods from Pakistan. However, this time, six companies from Pakistan will be exhibiting their products. Besides, Myanmar, Thailand, Bangladesh and Nepal have also confirmed their participation at the fair,” Rajesh Das, ITFAA vice-president, told reporters here.
The International Guwahati Trade Fair is known to be a trendsetter as the pioneer organiser of trade fairs in the Northeast.
“We have always endeavoured to introduce something new. Last year, Guwahatians were treated to Sumo wrestling for the first time. This year, women wrestlers will be making their debut here. While I cannot disclose the number of participants now, two wrestlers from London have confirmed their participation,” Das said.
“The focus will on Dima Hasao this time. This again is a first. We will showcase the district’s socio-cultural and economic development in an exclusive pavilion,” he added.
The organisers have chosen to offer a “Disney” treat to not just children, but the young at hearts as well.
“This being the 20th edition, we have arranged a different layout, modelled on the castles and cartoon characters of Disneyland, which is bound to keep the children as well as their guardians entertained. To add to the set-up, we have put up an attractive lighting,” he said.
The Disney food court, comprising an “authentic” Pakistani food corner named Karachi Darbar, will have much in store for the foodies as well.
Das said about seven to eight years back, not much was known here about countries such as Thailand and Bangladesh.
“But after we invited the countries at the fair, people gained a better perspective on the countries. Not just that, certain inhibitions too were shed,” he said.
This year, dancers from the Surintra Rajaphat University from North East Thailand will perform at the “Window to the World” pavilion, which will have a stall selling traditional Thai food along with a variety of fruits from the Southeast Asian country.
“The dance show is being organised with support of Royal Thai Embassy, Delhi,” Das added.
The Bangladesh pavilion this year will house more than 50 frontline companies.
“Among others, the NSIC, the National Jute Board, besides a host of multinational, national and local companies, will exhibit their products at the fair,” he said.
On the venue, Das said the association needed more support from the government to make Maniram Dewan Trade Centre popular.
“It was encouraging to see NH-37 (beside which the trade centre is located) lit up to glory, ahead of the Asean-India car rally and the tourism mart. However, sadly, now that the events are over, the lights no longer remain lit,” he added.