CHENNAI : The state of Odisha has left others behind when it comes to hosting international sporting events in the country of late. The Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships in Cuttack was the last one in a chain of events. And if word is to be believed, the state will host the Asian Rowing Championships in October or November next year. The Army Rowing Node facility in Pune is also considered as an option by the Rowing Federation of India (RFI), in case it can’t be staged in Odisha.
Speaking to this newspaper, RFI president Rajlaxmi Singh Deo confirmed that they have asked for permission from the Odisha government and are awaiting formal confirmation so that they can go ahead with planning the event. “India last hosted the competition in Hyderabad in 2005. It has been almost 14 years and if we are to be recognised as a powerhouse in Asia, we have to host more such competitions,” Deo said. “Pune has excellent facilities as well. But we want to take it to a new state this time,” she added.
Odisha’s commissioner-cum-secretary for sports and tourism, Vishal Kumar Dev also said that the RFI is in talks with them. “Indian rowers have been doing well recently and we will be happy to host the event subject to a mutual agreement,” he said.
The RFI and Odisha Association for Rowing and Sculling have been working towards the same for some time now and are awaiting a written response from the state government. The last date for RFI to show an intention to bid for the event is July 31. After that, they have to give confirmation and details about the event to the Asian Rowing Federation by October.
The RFI is planning to host the event in Jagatpur near Cuttack. The area is surrounded by the Mahanadi and its tributaries. The plan is to conduct the event on one of these banks. “The water is regulated by dams. But we need to get confirmation soon as there is some dredging work to be carried out. It will take some time before we can ready the venue,” Deo concluded.