Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday inaugurated the brand new synthetic track at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, for the 22nd Asian Athletics Championships to be held from 5 to 9 July.
The chief minister also distributed cheques worth Rs 3 lakh to five prominent Odia athletes – Dutee Chand, Sarbani Nanda, Amiya Kumar Mallick and Jauna Murmu – who have made India proud on the international stage.
A cultural extravaganza marked the special occasion as the CM also unveiled the medals for the championships.
Olympian and national record holder in the 100m women’s hurdles Anuradha Biswal, Asian Games silver medallist Pranati Mishra, Sushma Behera, former Indian women’s football captain Shradhanjali Samantray were among those who ran the inaugural race on the newly-laid track, cheered on by the CM who cut a ribbon to declare the track open.
The CM was taken on a golf cart for a tour of all the renovated areas that include the main track, the warm-up track, the newly-installed elevators and state-of-the-art high mast floodlights.
The CM said, “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”.