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Search on for an alternative host

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The search for an alternative host to conduct the Asian athletics championships is in progress, but with very little time available not many have shown an interest to look into the possibility of stepping in.

The championships, scheduled to be held in Beirut from July 29 to August 2, were cancelled because of the prevailing situation in Lebanon and the Asian Athletics Association (AAA) is looking for a last-minute host.

Efforts on

According to the Secretary of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) Lalit Bhanot, Qatar and Jordan had been approached and efforts would be made to find out whether any other member country, especially in South East Asia, was willing to take over the responsibility without altering the schedule too much.

The possibility of one of the Indian cities hosting the meet is also being vigorously pursued with the federation having already approached Lucknow and Hyderabad.

Delhi could also be in serious contention if sponsors could be found in time, though the Nehru Stadium, due for renovation for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, is not in the best of conditions to host an event of this magnitude.

Main worry

The heat in the North during July-end could be a factor, but at the moment the main worry is about finding a venue with a synthetic track and other stadium facilities, a city with adequate five-star and four-star hotel accommodation (700 rooms), and a sponsor or a set of sponsors ready to chip in with more than a crore.

India last hosted the championships in 1989 in Delhi.

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