Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Saturday declared a half-day holiday at all offices in the state capital on July 5 for the inaugural ceremony of the 22nd Asian Athletics Championship (AAC).
“Government offices located in Bhubaneswar will be closed by 1.30 pm on Wednesday in view of the opening ceremony of the 22nd Asian Athletics Championships,” said a notification issued by the Revenue and Disaster Management Department.
The offices will remain closed so that commuters along the route are not put to inconvenience due to movement of police escort, buses and vehicles of athletes and delegates, according to the notification.
The athletics championship will be organised from July 6 to 9 at Kalinga Stadium here while the inauguration ceremony would be held on July 5.
More than 700 athletes from around 45 countries will participate in 42 events — 21 for men and 21 for women.
The state government has planned to hold several cultural programmes at the opening ceremony.
In a bid to popularise Odisha’s rich culture and handlooms, the women athletes will wear Sambalpuri sarees during the inaugural ceremony of the international athletic event.
“Odisha’s traditional handloom saree will add colour to the glittering ceremony when the women athletes holding the flags at march past will appear in Sambalpuri saree,” said Odisha Handlooms, Textiles and Handicrafts Secretary Chitra Arumugam.
Meanwhile, uncertainty over the participation of Pakistani athletes has been resolved as the Indian government has granted visas to them.
Odisha Sports Minister Chandra Sarathi Behera said the visas for the Pakistani contingent for the athletic championship had been cleared.
This is for the third time that the Asian Athletics Championship will be held in India after New Delhi (1989) and Pune (2013). (IANS)