Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik on Saturday inaugurated the brand new synthetic track at the Kalinga Stadium here which got a face lift ahead of the Asian Athletics Championships that will begin here from July 5 to 9.

Chief Minister took stock of the arrangements at the stadium on a golf cart and reviewed all the renovated areas including the main track, the warm-up track, the newly-installed elevators and state-of-the-art high mast floodlights.

“Odisha has come a long way in creating sports infrastructure. After setting global benchmarks in disaster management, playing a major role in the food security of the country, becoming a state known for its transparency and anti-corruption measures, we wanted to take up this challenge to show the world how far we have come. The trust that the people of Odisha have put in us has allowed us to make Bhubaneswar the No. 1 Smart City in the country, besides setting benchmarks in the ease of doing business here,” Shri Patnaik said.

He further added, “With the Asian Athletics Championships, we also want to showcase how ready we are to host global sporting events. We will also be hosting the Hockey World Cup next year, and in the future we want to be one of the most sought after cities when bigger sporting events take place in India.”

The CM also felicitated famous athletes from Odisha such as Dutee Chand, Sarbani Nanda, Amiya Kumar Mallick and Jauna Murmu.

“As many as six athletes from the state participated in the Rio Olympics in 2016 — four hockey players and two runners — and I must remind you they were all women, which goes to show the women power Odisha demonstrated at the world stage,” Shri Patnaik added.

A cultural extravaganza marked the special occasion as the CM also unveiled the medals for the championships.