04 July, Bhubaneswar
The stage is set for the 22nd Asian Athletics Championship (AAC), 2017, to be kicked off tomorrow with a gala opening ceremony at the Kalinga Stadium here.
The events will begin on July 6 and end on July 9. The cultural program is scheduled to be held between 1800 and 2000 hours tomorrow.
The doors of the stadium will be opened for public at 1600 hours.
This will be followed by the entry of the athletes and then the VIPs at 1700 hours.
The actual four-day event will be starting from July 6 morning.
More than 800 athletes from 45 Asian countries will participate in the march past ceremony and oath taking inside the stadium at 1800 hours.
A 40-minute cultural programme will be the main attraction of the opening ceremony. The programme is designed to display the ancient glorious past of the state in terms of culture, heritage, its Buddhist connection with other countries and the current time of modernism.
The programme will start with sun as protagonist. Voiceovers will speak about the history and present period of Odisha while dancers will enact it on stage.
A Thousand Hand, a dance troupe from Thailand, will perform in the opening ceremony. They will make their appearance when voiceovers tell about the connection of Buddhism in India with countries like Sri-Lanka and Thailand.
The dance programme has been prepared and guided by noted Odissi exponent Aruna Mohanty and more than 400 dancers will perform in the act. Traditional dance forms will also be used in the programme.
Noted singer and composer Shankar Mahadevan with his troupe has also been invited to perform in the opening ceremony. He will sing on the theme of sports and a few Bollywood numbers, including an Odia song.
The State Tourism Department has hired two luxurious Mercedes Benz buses from Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation. The buses will be used for movement of delegates during the Championship.