Preparations complete for first South Asian meet

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Kochi, Mar 5 (UNI) Kerala Sports Council President T P Dasan today said preparations, including the renovation work at the venue, Maharaja's College Ground have been completed to host the first South Asian Athletics Championship here on March 7 and 8.

Talking to newspersons, Mr Dasan said the opening ceremony of the two-day meet had been postponed from tomorrow to Friday as some of the athletes would be reaching the city only by tomorrow evening.

Latest equipments like photofinish camera, wind gauge, lap timer, jumping pits, hurdles and discus and hammer gauges as per international standards were also being provided to conduct the meet, he added.

He said Rs 50 lakh was spent to spruce up the stadium with facilities like players' room, dope test room, medical centre, VIP and press gallery.

As many as 224 athletes from eight SAF countries --India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan would vie for honours in 19 events for men and 15 for women The Indian team, led by Anju Bobby George, was selected after the just concluded Federation Cup meet in Bhopal.

India will be fielding athletes like B G Nagraj (100m), B Mathew (Triple Jump), Hamsa Chatholi (1500m) and Hari Shankar Roy (high jump) in the men's section and H M Jyothi (100m), Anuradha Biswal and Poonam Bojanna (100m hurdles), Anju Bobby George&J J Shobha (long jump), Preeja Sreedharan (5000m), Sinimol Poulose (800&1500m) and Chitra K Soman (400m) in the women's section at the championship.

Sri Lanka will be fielding 62 athletes, Pakistan 39, Maldives 14, Bangladesh seven , Nepal 12, Afghanistan four and Bhutan three.

Kerala Sports Minister M Vijayakumar will inaugurate the championship.

UNI MA VV AB ND1715

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