Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 23:
While Odisha capital is gearing up for hosting 22nd Asian Athletics Championship at Kalinga Stadium scheduled in July, the endangered Olive Ridley turtle will enhance the attraction of mega event.
The decision to make Olive Ridley as mascot was taken at the first governing body meeting chaired by Odisha sports minister Sudam Marndi for holding the Asian Athletics Championship in Bhubaneswar.
The move came in view of percentage of sea turtles that chose Odisha beaches for laying eggs.
The government has decided to promote the mega sports event to draw public attention through road shows and campaign.
The mascot will be named very soon, official sources said.
The event is scheduled to begin on July 6 till July 9. The logo for the athletics championship will be released soon.
Around 600 athletes including 20 world champions of 45 countries will participate at the international event in Odisha.
The government has formed 14 different committees for smooth conduct of the competitions.
Sources said that 950 rooms in the hotels including Mayfair and Trident have been booked for accommodation of the sportspersons and authorities. The agreement will be made soon with the leading hospitals in Bhubaneswar including Apollo, KIIMS, Sunshine, Cares and AMRI for providing the sportspersons and world class health services.
The OTDC will provide vehicles for escorting the sportspersons. Tender process will begin soon for construction of temporary camps, toilets, installation of CCTVs, parking system and decoration in different locations in Odisha capital for the event. The BSNL will provide WiFi services at the stadium.
The finance department will provide Rs 15 crore from contingency fund for hosting the event. An allocation of Rs 10 crore has been made for the renovation and repair work of Kalinga Stadium.
The meeting decided to lay the synthetic track at the stadium by May 15. The Athletics Federation of India will verify all the systems and arrangements, the meeting decided.