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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: The much-awaited Tata Steel Bhubaneswar Half Marathon, the only professional run of the city organised by the steel major in association with State Sports and Youth Services department witnessed participation of nearly 3200 enthusiasts in the capital city here today.

The crowned winners were felicitated by Tourism and Culture minister Ashok Panda and other dignitaries.

Jhuma Khatun and Man Singh were the winners in female and male category respectively in 21.1 km half marathon and were awarded Rs 100,000 each. Besides, awards worth Rs 9,14,000 (excluding applicable taxes) were given to winners in different categories in presence of Vishal Dev, secretary, Sports and Youth Services, Bhubaneswar MP Prasanna Patsani, Priyadarshi Mishra, MLA, Bhubaneswar (North), Bijaya Mohanty, MLA Bhubaneswar (Central).

Ollywood  stars Sabyasachi Mishra, Archita Sahu and sports persons Anuradha Biswal and Sradhanjali Samantray were present.

The Kalinga stadium wore a festive look as thousands, clad in white and blue t-shirts, including senior government officers, corporate executives, students from various institutions and schools ran in different categories while the crowd cheered for them.

The Marathon covered a distance of 21.1 km on a revised route on the flyovers starting from Kalinga stadium and moving on to the National Highway through Jaydev Vihar past Khandagiri Square and returning via the same route, finally terminating at Kalinga Stadium. Tata Steel provided 5 ambulances and several water dispensing posts along the route to ensure the safety and comfort of all the runners. The Commissionerate of Police played a significant role in traffic management.

The half-marathon (21.1km) was flagged off at Kalinga Stadium in presence of Vishal Dev, TN Khuntia, DIG, CRPF Group Centre Bhubaneswar, Sunil Bhaskaran, Vice President, Corporate Services , Tata Steel; Arun Misra, Vice President, Project Gopalpur & MD, Tata Steel SEZ.

State-of-the-art technology consisting of timing mats and its control units, radio frequency identification (RFID) chips, split timing mats on route, tracking camera, wi-fi network on route as per international standard were used to ensure a world standard conduct of the  half marathon.

All participants were given branded T shirts for participating in the race.  The Kalinga stadium wore a festive with Tata Steel providing several on field entertainment with a live band and participation of Ollywood stars Sabyasachi Mishra and Archita Sahoo. A large electronic LED screen to post a ‘selfie’ with a personal message sling shot to the screen was a major attraction.

Addressing participants, Dev said, “I thank Tata Steel for initiating such a large-scale sports event, which brought together people from all across Bhubaneswar and outside for their love of running and sports. I look forward to many such grand sporting events.”

Speaking on the occasion Bhaskaran said, “Our aim is to make this one of the major running events in India and to see that over the years Bhubaneswar finds its spot among distance running in the country. Tata Steel is proud to bring this special sporting event in association with the State Sports and Youth Services department.”

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