2nd Asian All-Stars Athletics Competition

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Bhopal, Sep 17 (UNI) This City of Lakes is in the grip of sports fever as star athletes from all major Asian countries including China and Japan will be seen in action in the 2nd Asian All-Stars Athletics Competition to be held at Tatya Tope Nagar Stadium tomorrow.

Altogether 116 athletes, including 73 Indians, are taking part in the meet being organised by the state's Sports and Youth Welfare Department and the Madhya Pradesh Amateur Athletics Association.

Association sources said that there would be 18 events including 8 for women.

Second to India, Kazakhstan sent the largest contingent of 12, Iran (8), Pakistan (6), Japan (6), Nepal (5), Sri Lanka (4), Vietnam (3), Uzbekistan (3), China (2), South Korea (2), Syria (1) and Hong Kong (1). China's female discus thrower Song Aimin, who is Asian champion, would be the key attraction. However, she is expected to face a tough challenge from arch-rivals Krisna Poonia and Seeman Antil of India.

The participants, including Japanese Olympians Abiko Mitshuhiro and Tanno Asami, the 400 m runners, had a strenuous workout at the stadium this afternoon.

Among VIP spectator arrivals is former sprint queen P T Usha.

Asian Athletics Association Secretary Morris Nicholas, Amateur Athletic Federation of India Secretary Lalit Bhanot and other officials have already arrived while Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi would arrive tomorrow.

The Pakistan contingent is among a few teams still expected, the sources said while adding that the team from the neighbouring country would be arriving tomorrow.

Meanwhile, security in and around the Stadium was beefed up in view of the international event and a heavy police force deployed in the vicinity.

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