Bhubaneswar: The 62nd Inter-State Athletics Championships began at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.
At the inaugural ceremony, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president and legendary Indian athlete, PT Usha declared the meet open.
“I am delighted that the Odisha government is organising this event. This event is very important for our athletes as it is a qualification for the Asian Games. I wish the participants the very best,” said Usha.
Minister for Sports and Youth Services, Tusharkanti Behera, Sports and Youth Services Secretary Vineel Krishna and Chief Coach of Indian Athletics, Radhakrishnan Nair were also present at the occasion.
“It is our way of promoting sports and providing a platform for the sporting talent of our state & country. It allows athletes to showcase their skills and compete at the highest level. Earlier we hosted the IGP 3 & 4 and it was a memorable experience for all. This time too our efforts are directed towards the necessities and comfort of athletes,” said Behera.
The state government is fully committed to ensuring the smooth conduct of these events and providing the best possible facilities and support to the participating athletes,” he added.
On behalf of the entire athletic contingent, ace Indian sprinter from Odisha, Srabani Nanda took the pledge that symbolised the spirit of fair play and competition ahead of the commencement.
During the Inter-State Athletics Championship, the athletes will not only be competing for individual triumphs and state pride but also to assert themselves as contenders for three major international events, the upcoming biannual Asian Athletic Championship, the World Championship and the Asian Games in September.
Following the opening and Day 1 medal ceremony, the legendary sprinter PT Usha was accompanied by Sport secretary Vineel Krishna and they visited the upcoming Indoor Athletics Stadium, which upon completion would be India’s first ever indoor athletics stadium.