[India], July 02 (ANI): Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the new Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar yesterday, which will host the 22nd Asian Athletics Championships (ACC) from July 5-9.
A cultural extravaganza marked this special occasion for the city of Bhubaneswar as the Chief Minister also unveiled the uniquely-designed medals for the Championships, as well as the plaques next to each renovated area of the prestigious stadium.
The Chief Minister also distributed cheques worth Rs. three lakh to five prominent Odia athletes who have made India proud on the international stage i.e. Dutee Chand, Sarbani Nanda, Amiya Kumar Mallick and Jauna Murmu.
Olympian and national record holder in the 100 metre women's hurdles Anuradha Biswal, Asian Games silver medallist Pranati Mishra, Sushma Behera, former Indian women's football captain Shradhanjali Samantray, Banita Lakra, who was selected for the World Police Meet, and a trio of athletes from the famed Sports Hostel of Bhubaneswar Latika Besra, Raibari Tiria and Sanjukta Mallick ran the inaugural race on the newly laid track, cheered on by Chief Minister Patnaik who cut a ribbon to declare the track open.
The Chief Minister was then given a tour on a golf cart 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.
"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," he said.
The entire work commissioned to complete the renovation of the stadium, to host the Asian Athletics Championships has been completed in record time.
Ranchi, which was to host the event, pulled out at the last minute, giving Bhubaneswar just 90 days to prepare the stadium. (ANI)