The city of Bhubaneswar was not first choice to host the 22nd Asian Athletic Champions as Ranchi, a city in Jharkhand had already bid to host the upcoming event but a back out at the eleventh hour saw Odisha Government stepping up and taking the responsibility of hosting the event. Though they had many obstacles in their way as they started the preparations to host the event from March 20, just three and a half a months before the event.
At that point of time, a direct help from Government of Odisha was needed which the state-run agency under Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik gave. A weekly check from him with MR. Chandra Sarthi Behera, the minister of sports of Odisha Government putting in his efforts to ready Kalinga Stadium of Bhubaneshwar with word class facilities to host the upcoming events.
Their main hurdle was to fulfil the basic needs of what athletes need. Kalinga Stadium was not in a good condition when Odisha Government bid for the event and the officials and workers ate, slept there 24/7 to make the stadium ready to go.
The efforts paid fruits and now, the city of Bhubaneswar is all set to see their biggest event in form of 22nd Asian Athelecitcs Championship from July 6 to 9, with ‘Olly’ the Warrior as the mascot for the event.
More than 1000 athletes from 45 countries are all set to land in India for the event. In fact, many of them have already reached the city to acclimatise to the conditions here.
The official opening of the event was conducted in Hotel Lalit in New Delhi on June 21, with all the officials sharing their experience on how they were on the toes while in the race to get the job before the deadline.
Former India athletes Anju Bobby George, PT Usha and Shiny Wilson were among other dignitaries in attendance.