Odisha Channel Bureau
BHUBANESWAR: Overcoming the challenge of getting ready within record 90 days Odisha is all set to host the prestigious Asian Athletics Championships from July 6-9 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
This is for the third time that the Asian meet is being hosted in India after it was first in Delhi in 1983 and then in Pune in 2013. The last edition of the meet was held in Wuhan, China in 2015 where India won a total of 13 medals including four gold medals, five silver medal and four bronze medals.
The temple city of Bhubaneswar is ready for the 22nd Asian Athletics Championships 2017 which is going to be the largest sporting event in Odisha’s history with over 800 athletes from 45 countries participating in it.
The athletes will include a six-member Pakistan team which has been finally issued visa, a development which has been welcomed by the Athletics Federation of India.
India has entered a strong 95-member squad, including 47 women, in the Asian Athletics Championship.
The winners of the Asian meet will get a direct berth for the World championships in London from August 4-13. As host, India is eligible to field three athletes in each discipline, instead of the usual two.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the brand new synthetic track at the Kalinga Stadium here on Saturday.
Patnaik also distributed cheques worth Rs 3 lakh to five prominent Odia athletes – Dutee Chand, Srabani Nanda, Amiya Kumar Mallick and Jauna Murmu – who have made India proud on the international stage.
The medals for the championships were also unveiled by Patnaik on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Patnaik expressed satisfaction that the entire work commissioned to complete the renovation of the Kalinga Stadium, besides the beautification of the city of Bhubaneswar to host the championships has been completed in record time.
Ranchi, which was to host the event this time, pulled out at the last minute, giving Bhubaneswar just 90 days to prepare from the day the Government of Odisha agreed to host the meet.
“With the Asian Athletics Championships, we also want to showcase how ready we are to host global sporting events. We will also be hosting the Hockey World Cup next year, and in the future we want to be one of the most sought after cities when bigger sporting events take place in India,” he said.
“Odisha has come a long way. After setting global benchmarks in disaster management, playing a major role in the food security of the country, becoming a state known for its transparency and anti-corruption measures, we wanted to take up this challenge to show the world how far we have come. The trust that the people of Odisha have put in us has allowed us to make Bhubaneswar the No. 1 Smart City in the country, besides setting benchmarks in the ease of doing business here, said Patnaik.
Many Departments of the State government have come together to make the championships a grand success.
The inaugural function of the championships will be held on July 5. Elaborate security arrangements have been made to prevent any untoward incident during the mega event. As many as 40 platoons of police personnel along with 400 officers will be deployed for the sports event during the championships.