The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) and the Tamil Nadu Athletics Association (TNAA) will jointly conduct the inter-State meet from June 4 to 7 at the newly-renovated Nehru Stadium here.
The Tamil Nadu Government has come forward to sponsor the championship to the tune of Rs. 35 lakh.
All the top athletes will be taking part in the meet as the AFI, in its last Annual General Meeting, made it mandatory for the athletes to participate if they want to be selected for the Asian meet scheduled in Pune from July 3 to 7.
Speaking to newspersons here on Friday, C.K. Valson, Secretary, AFI, said Om Prakash, Krishna Poonia (shot put), K.T. Irfan (20 km walk), Seema Antil (discus), Arokia Rajiv, Tintu Luka (800m), Prem Kumar (long jump) and Gayathri Govindaraj (100m hurdles) will be the star attraction. Vikas Gowda (discus) will be the lone absentee.
“The Nehru Stadium is ready. The facilities have been given free of cost by the State Government and we are grateful for that.
Moreover, the stadium’s floodlight capacity will be 2000 lux. Earlier, it was only 1300 lux. With such lighting, even the World championship can be conducted,” said Valson.
The AFI Secretary added that the indoor (60m) track with air-conditioner can be used by the athletes for the inter-State meet. “The warm-up track will be completed by the end of June,” he said.
Valson mentioned that the top three athletes from the meet will qualify for the Asian championship in Pune. He said a team from the National Anti-Doping Agency will arrive in Chennai on June 3.
W.I. Davaram, President, TNAA, praised the State Government and the Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for sponsoring the meet.
He clarified that the Government hadn’t withheld the Rs. 45 crore meant for the Asian meet (scheduled to be held in the city and cancelled subsequently) and had, in fact, used it for improving the infrastructure among others.