Jharkhand has declined to host the 22nd Asian Athletics Championship, which was scheduled to be held in Ranchi from June 1 to 4.
Madhu Kant Pathak, the president of the Jharkhand Athletics Association (JAA), confirmed this to Sportstar on Thursday evening.
“Yesterday, I got a letter from Jharkhand’s Director-Sports that they are not doing the event. I have conveyed this to the Athletics Federation of India,” said Pathak.
In a desperate bid to save the situation, and have the championship in Ranchi itself, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) president Adille Sumariwalla has sought an urgent appointment with the Jharkhand Chief Minister.
“Our president has sent a letter that he wants to meet the CM at the earliest. We have submitted this to the CM’s office and once he gets a confirmation about the date and time, he will come down here,” said the JAA president.
“It is not an issue of organising or not organising the championship, the issue is how much time was wasted. They have not given any reason for declining to host the championship.
“It is not only a big blow for Jharkhand but a big blow for India also. It was supposed to be one of the most high-profile events that Jharkhand had ever hosted.”
Odisha is now a front-runner to host the championship, at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. An AFI team was in the Odisha capital on Thursday to inspect the venue.
“The Odisha Government is very interested, only thing we don’t have sufficient time,” said a senior AFI official.
“We have a lot of work in Bhubaneswar, the stadium is under renovation, the track is being relaid but they are doing everything on a war footing.
“But we are also trying Jharkhand, we are trying our best to have it there itself.”
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