Olympic Day Run-2013, organised by the Visakhapatnam District Olympic Association (VDOA), evoked a good response from students and was formally flagged off by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy at the Andhra University Engineering College Grounds here on Sunday.

Addressing the large gathering of students estimated to be nearly a lakh, the Chief Minister called upon the students to rise above considerations of wins and losses in games and participate with a spirit of sportsmanship.

He lauded the local Olympic Association for organising a good programme. Mr. Reddy exhorted the youth to maintain good health through physical exercises and wished the participants all the best.

The participants also observed a two-minute silence in honour of those who lost their lives in Uttarakhand.

The presence of film actor Ram Charan Teja electrified the youth who clamoured to get a glimpse of him from close quarters.

The Olympic Run flagged off from the college grounds culminated at Rama Krishna Beach passing through Peda Waltair, Visakha Eye Hospital and Palm Beach. The police and volunteers failed to control the youth who stormed to the front of the dais breaking the barricades and in the melee around 10 children sustained minor injuries.

State Olympic Association president Lagadapati Rajagopal said that the event was organised every year and this time the association decided to decentralise the programme to the districts and important cities in the State. He said that government encouragement was needed for such events which kindle patriotism and sportsmanship.

Association State general secretary Jagadish Yadav told The Hindu that a mere 40,000 member participation in the run is enough to enter Guinness Book of World Records but breaking a previous record is different from entering the Guinness Book. The participants are given green, red and yellow colour receipts which will have to be dropped at three designated points en route the run way. These receipts will be collected by a committee of advocates monitoring the run and will be handed over to the Guinness Book committee which is in the city.

The committee will take the receipts along with them and do the counting in London and finally declare the status in terms of breaking record or fulfilling the mandatory figure of 40,000 for entering the record books. Among those who participated in the flagging off ceremony include Union Minister of State for Commerce D. Purandeswari, Minister for Infrastructure Ganta Sreenivasa Rao and Rajya Sabha member T. Subbarami Reddy and several local MLAs and MLCs.

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