650 athletes from TN, Karnataka, AP, Kerala and Puducherry participated

The Second South Zone Master Athletics Championship-2013 got under way at the Anna Stadium here on Saturday.

In the championship, as many as 650 athletes, including 100 women, from the States of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka and Union Territory of Puducherry participated.

Organised under the aegis of the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu and the Tamil Nadu Master Athletics’ Association the event would have competitions in 100-metre, 400-metre and 1,500-metre dash, long jump, high jump, discus throw and javelin throw.

The participants were in the age group of 30 to 85 years. S.P. Krishnamoorthy (85) told this correspondent that he made it a point to participate in all the athletics events meant for the veterans. Several gold and silver medals to his credit, having won them in national and international events, Mr. Krishnamoorthy had made it to the venue well in time. He said he would just watch the performance of the Tamil Nadu athletes and if the team fell short of points to win the laurels, he would jump into the fray.

Seventy-year-old Prabhavathi from Karnataka, who is still an active athlete, found the hospitality in Tamil Nadu quite heart-warming. She had won a number of medals in the shotput event and had seen in the current event more opportunity to increase her pile of medals.

Speaking on the occasion, Cuddalore MP K.S. Alagiri said that India had lot of potential to make its mark in the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and in the Olympics. Yet, its achievements in these events had left much to be desired.

The youths should take interest in sports and hone their skills to the international level. The master athletic championship should serve as the pointer for the youths to take to sports in large numbers and bring laurels to the country.

District Sports Officer K. Thirumugham appealed to the MP to sanction funds for putting up a roof over the swimming pool in the stadium and also a synthetic basketball court. Accepting the demands in principle Mr. Alagiri, however, said that the new facilities to be created ought to be put to proper use and should not be kept idle for want of patronage.

Patron of the Tamil Nadu Master Athletics’Association, Venkatachalam, president R. Ranganathan, secretary G. Ramamurthy, district vice-president K. Thirumalai, and others participated.