BHUBANESWAR: Ahead of the opening ceremony of the 22nd Asian Athletics Championship scheduled here on Wednesday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik described it as a historic day for Odisha.
“Tomorrow marks a historic day for Odisha. The ACC 2017 will get going, signalling State’s emergence as a strong force in global sports arena,” the Chief Minister tweeted.
“I look forward to be at the grand opening ceremony and events. Seek cooperation of all to make AAC2017 the best in history of Asian Athletics,” he tweeted.Minister of State for Sports and Youth Affairs Chandra Sarathi Behera said Odisha’s capability to host such a prestigious international sports event will definitely be appreciated.
About 800 athletes representing 44 countries along with more than 300 officials from various sports bodies will participate in the sporting event. The event is being held at the Kalinga Stadium here, where 42 track and field events will be held. Olly, the official mascot, has been welcomed at different places.The Kalinga Stadium has been transformed to become a world class track and field facility, adhering to the norms of International Association of Athletic Federation, said Sports and Youth Affairs secretary Vishal Dev.
Dev said utmost care has been taken for accommodation and transportation. There is complete preparedness for safety and rescue operations. About 500 volunteers have been mobilised from colleges, medical and management institutes, besides sports specific volunteers, he said.
The State Government has already announced a half-day holiday for the inaugural ceremony.