Bhubaneswar: The 22nd Asian Athletics Championship is underway and the people of Odisha are now treated to a feast in international athletics. This event is a huge opportunity for our youngsters to get exposed to world athletics and see top athletes in action from close quarters. I am hopeful this will inspire them to take up sports.
This is what I intended from the beginning. And, we are not stopping at hosting this event only. We will use this as a stepping stone to develop a world class athletics environment in our state so as to nurture and develop our young talents.
I am delighted to announce that we are soon going to set up a High Performance Academy for Athletics here in Bhubaneswar with the help of International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and Athletic Federation of India (AFI). An expression of intent was signed between my government and the athletics’ bodies today.
Under the scheme of things, we will set up world class infrastructure including stadium and training facilities, hostels for residential training and all-round development of our talent. The IAAF will contribute its expertise in the form of specialist coaches for various disciplines and also train our coaches. The AFI will support us in selecting coaches, engaging specialist staff, teachers and also in managing the Academy.
It is my dream to see Olympic medalists in athletics and track and field emerge from Odisha and our country. I am sure this initiative with mentorship of stalwarts like Lord Sebastian Coe and Shri Adille Sumariwalla will help realise this very dream.