Bhubaneswar: The much-awaited 22nd Asian Athletics Championship will be inaugurated amid a glittering presentation of traditional songs and dances at the Kalinga Stadium here this evening.
The inaugural ceremony will be graced by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and other dignitaries.
As many as 650 athletes and 300 officials from 43 Asian countries will participate in the four day event that would continue till July 9, 2017. There will be 42 track and field events with 20 world champions likely to participate. Olly, the 22nd AAC official mascot, has been welcomed at different places.
A grand cultural extravaganza will be held to mark the beginning of the international event. Noted dance group like Prince Dance Group and the Odisha Dance Academywill perform on the stage. All dances and songs representing golden heritage of Odisha will be presented in the presence of athletes and delegates from across Asian countries. Famous Rangabati song will be presented by national level artists.
Internationally-acclaimed sand artiste Sudarshan Patnaik would carve out a sand art on the occasion.
Sebastian Coe, President, International Association of Athletic Federations, who set eight outdoor and three indoor world records in middle distance track events, Dahlan Al-Hamad, President, Asian Athletic Association, Adille Sumariwalla, President Athletic Federation of India, CK Valson, Secretary, AFI, other office bearers of various Athletic Associations of Asia, distinguished athletes including PT Usha have also reached to attend the mega event.
A huge traffic management system has been planned for the mega event. According to sources, vehicular movement from the World Square to Jayadev Vihar would remain stopped from 3 am to 10 pm today.