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Tamil Nadu not to host Asian Athletics Games: Jayalalithaa

Chennai, Feb 22 (): Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa on Thursday said that her government has decided not to host the 20th Asian Athletic Championships to be held in July this year. She is likely to request the Centre to shift the event to some other state.

The 20th Asian Athletic Championships was to be hosted in India after a gap of nearly 20 years. New Delhi had hosted it in 1989.

The decision comes after a day Jayalalithaa condemned the Lankan government over the “inhuman act” of assumed cold-blooded killing of 12-year-old Balachandran, son of the murdered LTTE chief V. Prabhakaran by the Lankan army. She said the Lankan players have no place in the state.

In a statement, she said the Asian Athletics Association would be asked to hold the Championships anywhere else. Jayalalithaa said Tamil Nadu government had written to the Asian Athletics Association in Singapore asking them that Lankan team be stopped from participation considering the “sentiments” of the people in Tamil Nadu, as the Lankan government was “repeatedly acting against the ethnic minorities”.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said, “since there has been no favourable response from the Asian Athletics Association, my government will at no cost accept holding the event, in which Sri Lanka is also participating, in Tamil Nadu. Tamils also will not accept it.”

Jayalalithaa feels that if Sri Lankan competitors participate in the Asian Athletics Games, then it would lead to protests from several quarters. In order to avoid such law and order problems, the state government has chosen not to play host this time.

It is said the decision was taken to convey the ruling AIADMK’s strong protest over the terrible atrocities against Lankan Tamils in the island nation.

Jayalalithaa has last year returned two football teams from the island nation that were to play friendly matches in Chennai, in September.