Bhubaneswar, June 30: For the first time Odisha is all geared up to host the mega sports event of athletics, Asian Athletics Championship in the first week of July. Olly, the Olive Ridley sea turtle, is the official mascot of the 22nd edition of the athletics came to meet and greet Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
CM Patnaik met Olly and extended best wishes to Odisha to bring out the best from this year’s Asian Athletics Championship. He said that “#Olly came over to greet me at my office today. I congratulated Olly & wished @Bhubaneswar2017 to be the best ever in #AsianAthetics history.”
Earlier in June, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik flagged off the Asian Athletics Championships’ mascot rally at the Kalinga Stadium. Asian Athletics Championship will start from 6th July and will go on till 9th July.
Olly will tour all 30 districts of the state to spread awareness and publicity for the event. He added the beautifully designed mascot will generate awareness amongst the masses and create a sense of belongingness to the championships.
Earlier CM Patnaik said that “Bhubaneswar has emerged as a sought-after destination for international sporting events. The 22nd Asian Athletics Championships will be the largest ever sporting event in Bhubaneswar with the participation of 45 countries.” “The Olive Ridley turtles are our state’s pride. And I hope that through our mascot, Olly, we can create more awareness about their protection and conservation throughout the country,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sports Secretary Vishal Kumar Dev said that “Through this, we hope to provide our athletes and sportspersons exposure to the best sporting talent in the world and raise the profile of the state in the field of sports. We are proud to be hosting Asia’s biggest athletics event.”
This is for the 3rd time that the Asian Athletics Championships will be held in India, after New Delhi (1989) and Pune (2013). Through this meet, the state government will be contributing towards raising awareness for the protection of the endangered species and preserving their natural habitat.