Bhubaneswar, October 05 (Odisha.in) Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated and declared open the 73rd All India Railway Athletics Championship today forenoon in the Kalinga Stadium at Bhubaneswar among pomp and gaiety.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister congratulated Shri K. C. Jena, the first oriya son to be the Chairman of Railway Board.
He praised the role of Indian Railways and East Coast Railway in particular for development of industrialization and economic development of Orissa.
He urged East Coast Railways to discharge their due role in the endeavor of sports development in the state.
He also expressed his happiness over the encouragement made by East Coast Railway Sports Association (ECoRSA) to inspire talented sportspersons by way of employment and congratulated the General Manager for organizing this National Level Championship.
Debasis Nayak, Hon�ble Minister of State (Independent) for Information and Public Relations, Sports and Youth Services graced the ceremony as Guest of Honour.
Nayak thanked the Chairman Railway Board for his active cooperation in accelerating the completion of the ongoing International level Cricket Stadium and East Coast Railway headquarters building at Bhubaneswar.
He hoped that Indian Railways will supplement in the development of sports and in organizing a Womens Hockey Team at Bhubaneswar.
K.C Jena, Chairman Railway Board and Ex-officio Principal Secretary, Govt. of India graced the occasion as guest of honour and stated that Indian Railways have a long tradition in promoting sports in the country.
The proposal of forming one full-fledged Womens� Hockey Team at Bhubaneswar is under consideration at Railway Board and he is keen on completion of the first Railway Stadium to host International Cricket Championship at Bhubaneswar.
He sought the cooperation of the State Govt. for significant improvement in Rail infrastructure in the State in the coming years.
Presiding over the ceremony, Shri S.S. Khurana, General Manager, East Coast Railway stated that the motto behind organizing the championship at Bhubaneswar is to popularize athletics as a game among the young children of Orissa.
For this purpose, International athletic personalities like P.T. Usha, Siney Wilson, Rachita Mistry and other have been invited to this championship who will inspire the school children. He also stated that Railway is committed to encourage talented sports by way of employment and other facilities.
Earlier D.K. Samantaray, President East Coast Railway Sports Association in his welcome address highlighted the achievements of East Coast Railway in sports and games and expressed his gratitude to the State Govt. for their cooperation in organizing this National level championship.
S.K.Patra, General Secy. East Coast Railway Sports Association gave the vote of thanks and told about the spirit of sportsmanship.
Earlier in the morning, S.S. Khurana, General Manager, East Coast Railway lighted up the torch rally at Khandagiri Hill for the 73rd All India Railway Athletic Championship and handed over the torch to sprint Queen Padmashree P.T. Usha, Arjun Awardee Siney Wilson and Padmashree Diana.
The lighted torch was further carried by the student of sports hostel to Kalinga Stadium. In side Kalinga Stadium, the torch was carried by wonder boy Budhia Singh, Arjun awardee Rachita Mistry and Indian Women Hockey Captain Jyoti Sunita Kulu. Finally, the torch was lighted up by a sportsman riding over a horse.
A colourful march-past was organised in the stadium where participant of all the zonal railways and production units of Indian Railways took part. The oath was taken by Parvati Sethy, a discuss thrower of East Coast Railway.
During the function, International sports persons like Jyoti Sunita Kulu, Women Hockey Captain of India presently working in Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala along with four Arjun Awardees P.T.Usha, Siney Wilson, Rachita Mistry and Ms. Diana were felicitated by the Chief Minister and Chairman Railway Board.
Lastly, a scintillating and colourful cultural function was performed in the ground to the amusement of the visitors by the local school children and child artists of Kolkata.