Vol. 5 Num 233 Mon. January 17, 2005  
Star City

Paintball hits the capital

Xtreme Paintball, a new game park recently launched at Panthapath, is anticipating a rush of customers in the near future.

According to the park's staff, the lack of knowledge of city dwellers about paintball was the main reason for the limited turn out of visitors at present.

"Most of our regular customers are foreigners who reside in areas like Banani, Gulshan, and Baridhara and are already familiar with the game," said the manager of the game park which was launched on December 8 last year.

The park which is spread over a 2.5 bigha land opposite to the Bashundhara City has a restaurant near the entrance and the main battleground at the back.

A player has to change into pyjamas and wear a helmet. Then equipped with toy guns, vests, markers, mask and coloured paintballs as bullets, he has to shoot at the opponent. Each magazine has 15 bullets. The shooter scores as soon as the ball hits the opponent who is marked 'out'.

'Capture the Flag' has proved the most popular game at the park so far. Two teams are divided in equal numbers and as soon as the referee gives his signal, the game begins with both teams advancing toward each other and at the same time trying to mark the other with the paintballs.

As soon as somebody gets hit, he has to return to the designated base and restart from there. The first team to get hold of the flag, fixed at the centre of the battleground, and reach the opponent's base wins the game.

"Even though the universal rule for paintball is 'shot and you are out', the players can modify rules and play according to their own wishes here," said Sarf Emdad, owner of Xtreme Paintball.

Emdad, who grew up in the United States wanted to spread the paintball craze in Dhaka and also dreamt of creating a place where young people of the city could hang out during their free time. With that concept in mind he initiated Xtreme Paintball.

In order to provide a high degree of satisfaction to the customers, Emdad imported all the apparatus and equipment from Hong Kong. The park is also affiliated with the Asian Paintball Incorporated.

The rates for playing games are affordable and those who are not in the mood for paintball, can simply enjoy a quick snack at the restaurant, play badminton or watch sports on the big screen projector at the park.

"There are clubs in Dhaka for the adults but the teenagers and youths have always complained about the scarcity of spots where they can enjoy themselves. But people of all ages can come here," said Emdad.

The strategic features of the sport, which enhances teamwork, self-confidence, leadership abilities and other such qualities in players, has made it a favorite pastime for business organisations world over.

"We have already had the staff of the British American Tobacco Bangladesh try out the game and they actually loved it," said the owner.

Emdad is also expecting a similar kind of response from other business houses and also hopes to attract the general public.

. PHOTO: Syed Zakir Hossain