Speaking at Sportstar's South Sports Conclave in Chennai on Tuesday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said that hosting the Chess Olympiad, the world's biggest chess event, was a proud moment for the state.
"Hosting the 44th Chess Olympiad is a matter of pride for the State of Tamil Nadu. More than 200 countries and 1000 players will participate for the first time in Chennai. Because of the war in Ukraine, FIDE decided to drop Russia, which was going to host it. A lot of countries worked hard to host the tournament. With AICF (All India Chess Federation), we decided to bring it to India. Our government was able to take quick decisions and did all the necessary work expeditiously and we got it [hosting rights].
Watch the full speech here:
"To host this event, the state government has set aside Rs. 92.13 crores. This conclave comes at the right time. The Hindu Group has chosen the right time to host this," Stalin said during his keynote address.
Former Indian footballer Isaiah Arumainayagam and athlete Barath Sridhar won the HeroMotoCorp Unsung Champion and Emerging Hero honours, respectively, at the Sportstar South Sports Conclave. The duo was honoured by Stalin and The Hindu Group Chairperson Malini Parthasarathy.
Reservoir of talent
"As Sportstar seeks to entertain and enthrall our audiences with sharp and live narrating of major games and sports as they unfold, we also see it as our mission to raise consciousness in our country of the need to become a major sporting nation. We want to reach out to youth, to participate in the national endeavour to build skills in grass-root sports and to identify new talent that will be an asset to our country.
"Our Chief Minister has shown a lot of zeal and commitment to this important cause, and he has made clear that he will do his bit to make Tamil Nadu a state that will be a reservoir of sporting talent and raise the bar for sports here. Right from the beginning of his tenure, Thiru Stalin has underlined the importance of honouring the role of sports as a team-building and morale-boosting aspect of our society," Malini said.
Meanwhile, the TN CM also expressed his love for cricket. "I am a big fan of cricket and never miss a chance to watch a match. I have played during my school days and while I was mayor. The former Chief Minister Dr. Kalaignar (M. Karunanidhi) would always watch cricket matches amidst his busy schedule."
The conclave was held in association with Hero We Care, a Hero Motocorp CSR Initiative, K J Somaiya Institute of Management, JK Tyre, FIITJEE Global School, Indian Oil, Nippon Paint and Casagrand and Radio City.
The first edition of the Sportstar Sports Conclave was held in July 2021 in Kerala.