New Delhi: Ranchi is set to host the Asian Athletics Championships in July after the Tamil Nadu government cancelled the prestigious event, earlier scheduled to be held in Chennai, on political grounds. Tamil Nadu Government had last month scrapped the July 3-7 Championships on the ground that it cannot host Sri Lankan athletes and since then, the Athletics Federation of India has been searching for a venue.
AFI President Adille Sumariwala said that he expects the Jharkhand Government to take a decision on hosting the event on Tuesday.
"I am hopeful that the Jharkhand government will give the go ahead by tomorrow or next few days. Financial part, accommodation and infrastructure -- all these aspects are falling into their places," said Sumariwala, now in Ranchi to take stock of the situation.
Jharkhand is under the President's Rule and a five-member committee, which also has a sports secretary in it, has been constituted to look into the different aspects of finding out the feasibility of hosting the championships.
"The state administrators wanted the AFI to certify whether the main stadium which had hosted the National Games in 2011 would be up to the mark to host the Asian Championships. The stadium is in great shape. I have looked into other aspects like hotel facilities also. There will be enough top-class facilities to accommodate the athletes and officials. I am going to submit a report tonight to the committee and will meet other government officials and security people also. The committee is meeting tomorrow and by then we will get the go-head for the event," he said.
Sumariwala said that financial aspect was not a major issue as the government would need little spending on infrastructure upgradation.
"I think finance part should not be a major concern as I can see a strong inclination of state officials to host the event. Moreover, the stadium is ready to host the event. It is one of the best in the country and it has been approved by the IAAF also," he added.
AFI sources said that the total cost of the hosting of the event should be manageable within Rs 15-20 crore as there would be little spending on stadium upgradation. Tamil Nadu government had earmarked more than Rs 50 crore for hosting the event and a large part of it was to be spent in the upgradation of the main stadium. Sumariwala said the AFI would inform the Asian Athletics Association once the Jharkhand government gives the go-ahead to the event.
"India has been given the right to host the Asian Championships and the country is hosting such an event after a long gap. We did not want the Championships to go away from the country," he said.
India is hosting the Asian Championships after a gap of 24 years. New Delhi hosted the eighth edition of the event in 1989.