New Delhi, 21st June: With just 90 days given to prepare, the Government of Odisha and the Athletics Federation of India pulled off an incredible story by putting together the 22nd Asian Athletics Championship in record time. In a glittering curtain raiser a special film highlighting the planning, monitoring and supervision of the Asian Athletics Championship was showcased.
The 22nd Asian Athletics Championship is Asia’s biggest athletics event, being hosted by Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha from July 6-9. This is the third time the premier track and field event of the continent is being held in India after New Delhi (1989) and Pune (2013), and is a qualifying event for the IAAF World Athletics Championships to be held in London later this year.
Dignitaries including Shri Chandra Sarathi Behera, Honourable Minister – Sports and Youth Services – Government of Odisha, Shri R Balakrishnan, Development Commissioner cum Additional Chief Secretary – Government of Odisha, Shri Vishal Kumar Dev, Secretary cum Commissioner – Sports – Government of Odisha, Dr. Sunil K. Bhargava – Chief Resident Commissioner, Government of Odisha, Mr. Sanjeev Chopra, Principal Secretary – Department of Industries – Government of Odisha and Mr. Nitin Jawale,Director - Department of Tourism, Government of Odisha presided over the press conference, highlighting the hurdles they faced along the way to deliver a stadium of international quality after taking up the “90-Day Challenge”.
Legendary Olympians Anju Bobby George, PT Usha and Shiny Wilson were also present at the press conference along with AFI President Mr AdilleSumariwalla, celebrating the occasion of Bhubaneswar’s makeover to gear up for the premier track and field competition of the continent, which runs from July 5-9, 2017.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Chandra Sarathi Behera, Honourable Minister – Sports and Youth Services – Government of Odisha, said: “Odisha has been at the forefront of major development in all sectors, and sports has been a major contributing factor towards the development of the state. With world-class events coming to Odisha, the state is quickly becoming one of the emerging hubs of sports in the country. The Asian Athletics Championships will also give a chance to the best Odia athletes to perform in front of their home crowd.”
Mr AdilleSumariwalla, President, Athletics Federation of India, said: “The preparations for the Asian Athletics Championships have been top class right from the day Odisha decided to host the event. This is going to be the biggest competition in the event’s history. AFI is overseeing all the preparations with respect to accreditations and arrangements for the athletes and officials. I must thank the Government of Odisha for their continuedsupport. With the quality of facilities Kalinga Stadium has, I’m sure we will be hosting many national and international athletics meets in the years to come.”
The Government of Odisha took up the challenge with utmost care, and a stage-wise execution of every task was carried out by special teams on a daily basis. These tasks were carried out in consultation with the Industrial Development Corporation Odisha (IDCO), Works Department, and every matter was reviewed by the Honourable CM Shri Naveen Patnaik.
The Government of Odisha had to execute the following tasks within the allocated 90 days:
- Preparation of main track and practice track, high-mast floodlights and escalators
- Arrangement of transportation, accommodation and medical arrangements for athletes and delegates
- Media and PR coordination, vending and promotions
- Mobilization of 600 volunteers
- Planning and creation of opening and closing ceremonies
The meticulous and methodical approach taken by the Government of Odisha in the execution of the massive task on hand meant that it went beyond the call of duty to fulfil every requirement and set the stage for hosting the 22nd Asian Athletics Championships.