Game plan to bag Asia meet

Athletics outfit prepares Rs 7cr proposal

To become a strong contender for the host post of a prestigious Asian championship, the Jharkhand Athletics Association has readied an ambitious Rs 7.3-crore financial proposal.

President of the state association Madhukant Pathak on Monday made a Powerpoint presentation before sports secretary Avinash Kumar, detailing how they intended to host the games and what opportunities the meet would gift Jharkhand.

"The objective of the presentation was to exhibit tangible and intangible benefits. Intangible benefits include branding of Ranchi as an international games hub because the meet will see the participation of 45-odd Asian nations and the events will be beamed live worldwide. This will lead to global interest in direct and indirect tourism, and business with our state," Pathak told The Telegraph.

"For tangible benefits, the state can give us 20 promising athletes along with funds, and we will groom them for global competitions," he added.

The Athletics Federation of India had on Friday forwarded a mail it received from Asian Athletics Association, asking Jharkhand to consider hosting either the 22nd Asian Athletics Championship or the 2nd Asian Youth Athletics Championship, both scheduled for 2017. The state must bid by August 15 to be considered a contender for one of the two big-ticket events.

Pathak maintained that they had proposed that the government handle all financial agreements. "We will just take care of technical management. Problems always arise when money is involved. Our focus is on the meet and we have told the (sports) department that the government can decide how much it wants to spend and how."

Asked how they had worked out the estimated budget, the athletics association boss said their proposal was based on references from current market rates and tentative escalation of prices in two years from now, minus city beautification work. "Even if rates climb over the next two years, the increase in budget will not exceed 20 per cent. The overall games expenses shouldn't cross Rs 8.76 crore," he said.

Pathak claimed that sports secretary Kumar had said he would forward the proposal to chief minister Raghubar Das within a day or two. "It will be a five-day meet to be participated by some 1,100 people, including Olympians. We have drawn up the budget based on accommodation and food in general, airfares and boarding for national and international stars and top-rung officials, cleanliness, security, et al," he said.

Besides India, many other countries will bid for the Asian athletics. What guarantee that Ranchi will make the cut?

"Selection will broadly be done on four parameters - infrastructure, government backing (funds), organising capabilities and new venue. So, we certainly have an edge. In the worst-case scenario, if we lose the deal, we will forfeit the Rs 5 lakh paid for the bidding process," Pathak said.

Sports secretary Kumar didn't receive calls.

Sports director Anil Kumar Singh, who was also present during the presentation, said the chief minister would take the final decision. "We are of the view that such events should be held for the benefit of athletes and the state. The department will forward the file to Raghubar ji for his consent," he added.

Do you think Ranchi will land the Asian championship? Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com



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