KOZHIKODE: Hundreds of students from the city schools came together at the Olympian Rehman Stadium (Medical College Ground), on Saturday, to make a colourful opening ceremony for the 59th Kerala State Schools Athletics championship.
Ernakulam district, the defending champions, has put up a powerful display by bagging 54 points with six gold, seven silver and three bronze medals. Palakkad district came in the second place with 39 points while host Kozhikode was in third position with 26 points. Thiruvananthapuram and Idukki districts bagged 14 points each on the first day.
The meet commenced with the 5000-metre race of senior boys. Around 2,650 athletes are participating in 95 events. The opening ceremony began with the march past led by the Ernakulam district team who are the defending champions of the school title. The school band of BEM HS, Vanchiyoor, and St Joseph Anglo Indian HSS accompanied the teams while other district teams followed, receiving the salute from Sports Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan and others on the stage.
Following the parade, the torch relay entered the stadium. Olympian P T Usha received the torch and later, it was handed over to Olympians Mercy Kuttan, Tintu Luka and Anil Kumar. Jisna Mathew, international athlete, placed the torch on the stand.
Sports Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said that the Kerala Legislative Assembly has passed a Sports Bill and has decided to set up sports fund for the welfare of sports persons.
Education Minister P K Abdu Rabb, Social Justice Minister M K Muneer, Mayor V K C Mammad Koya, A Pradeep Kumar MLA, V M Ummer Master MLA, Purushan Kadalundi MLA, Sports Council president Anju Bobby George and DPI MS Jaya were among those who present during the function.