Bhubaneswar: Three Japanese women athletes – Hitomi Shimura, Takeishi Konomi and Sayaka Aoki, will be the star attractions in the Senior National Open Athletics Championships at Kalinga Stadium September 25-28, Athletics Federation of India (AFI) general secretary CK Valson announced in a press conference here Tuesday.
Hitomi will be participating in 100m hurdles, Sayaka will take part in the 400m hurdles while Takeishi will run in the 400m.
Asked about whether the Japanese athletes have been invited, Valson clarified: “As it is an Open Championships athletes from any country can participate. They were here last year in the Asian Athletics Championships (AAC) and seeing the quality of the competition they approached us to be a part of the event.”
Valson also informed that approximately 600 athletes from all over the country will be participating in the four-day event. Athletes from boards like Railways, Police, Services and many others are also taking part which will make the event competitive.
“Many of the medal-winning athletes from the Asian Games including javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra will be part of the event,” Valson informed.
Regarding the accommodations of the athletes and the officials, Manoj Padhi, joint secretary of the state sports department informed, “Approximately 350-360 rooms have been booked in different hotels close to the stadium. All athletes are expected to be in the city approximately two-three days before the event starts.”
Valson also assured that there would be no problems conducting the event in spite of the construction work going on inside the stadium for the upcoming hockey World Cup.