Get set, go time for star studded athletics meet in Chandigarh
Chandigarh’s first synthetic athletics track at the Sector 7 Sports Complex is set to host its first star-studded event — the Indian Grand Prix
The UT administration’s work on laying the first synthetic athletics track in the city at the Sector 7 Sports Complex, which came to fruition last month, is set to be followed by its first star-studded event — the Indian Grand Prix — from Sunday.
The same comes in the backdrop of Indian track-and-field legend PT Usha having expressed surprise over the City Beautiful not having a synthetic athletics track despite a great infrastructure.
Fittingly, PT Usha, who is the Indian Olympic Association chief, was in the city again on Saturday a day before the opening of the grand two-day athletics meet. The newly laid track will host India’s top athletes in the lead-up to the upcoming Asian Games, scheduled to be held in Hangzhou, China.
“It is a matter of great pride that the UT administration took the project seriously and the track is now hosting such a prestigious tournament. We are all thrilled and to top it all, PT Usha is here to witness the event. She had brought it up in her last visit to Chandigarh. The local athletes now should train in Chandigarh and not move to other states. We are hoping all young local athletes will be there at the IGP to see the competitions and seek inspiration,” Athletics Federation of India (AFI) secretary Ravinder Chaudhary said.
National record-holders and Asian champions shot putter Tajinderpal Toor and 100m hurdler Jyothi Yarraji lead the field of top names set to appear in the Indian Grand Prix, the fifth of the ongoing 2023 series.
Amoj Jacob, who was a part of the men’s 4x400m relay team that set a national record en-route to a stellar finals run at the recently held World Athletics Championships, will also be a big draw at the meet.
Other quarter-milers Aishwarya Mishra, Mijo Chacko Kurian and Nihal Joel will also be seen in action over the course of the next two days.
“The Indian contingent will be bigger and stronger this time. We have shortlisted 65 athletes and there are chances to add another 15 athletes depending whether they achieve the qualification criteria set by the AFI during the two-day Indian Grand Prix in Chandigarh,” AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said.
The competition will commence with the men’s triple jump and women’s shot put final at 3.30 pm on Sunday. Entry for visitors is free.
Chaudhary also revealed that the Sector 7 Sports complex will also host the U23 athletics national meet next month.