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National meet sets stage for fair play

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 24: Women’s empowerment will get a boost as the state plays host to a few events of the 38th National Women’s Sports Competition next week.

The games that began on November 2 in Gurgaon, Haryana, is also being held in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. In the Odisha leg of the competition, basketball, gymnastics and swimming will be hosted from November 27 to 30 at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar and Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Cuttack.

In its earlier avatar as the National Sports Festival for Women, the event was first organised in 1975 to celebrate International Women’s Year. Since it encouraged women sportspersons, the national event has been continued as an annual championship in 12 disciplines for those below 25 years.

The event is usually hosted by four or more states. Odisha will play host to 700 sportspersons and 150 officials from 25 states and Union Territories. Each of the state teams in basketball and gymnastics will include 12 players while the swimming teams will have seven members, making it 34 participants from each state.

Cultural programmes will also be held, an official said. “We have prepared accommodation facilities for the women sportspersons in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. The Biju Patnaik Swimming pool of the Kalinga Stadium is ready. The event will also help the gymnasts of the state get exposure,” said D.V. Swamy, state director of sports and youth services.

“Odisha will also host the national rural sports competitions that will begin from the first week of December,” said Swamy.