By Odisha Story Bureau, Bhubaneswar:
- The Turtle OLLY was the mascot of 22nd Asian Athletics Championship
- Three volunteers acted as Olly in different places and time
- As CM felicitates the Indian medal winners with cash prize, Olly gets nothing
The 22nd Asian Athletics Championship (AAC) is over. Government of Odisha is being poured with wishes and admirations for the succesful organisation of AAC at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar.
As it’s hard to find Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik in cheerful moods, it was an immense pleasure for fans to find him in a jolly mood with mascot Olly and frequently smilling during the AAC at the stadium.
After 9th July, the concluding day of AAC 2017, Odisha government decided to felicitate all Indian medal holders before they leave for their home.
On 10th July 2017 in a special function CM Patnaik felicitated medal winners. The gold medal winners were felicitated with a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh each, silver medalists with Rs 7.5 lakh each and bronze medalists with Rs 5 lakh each.
Though the backdrop of the function had a large image of Olly, he was not seen their. The men who worked hard to entertain and cheer athletics enthusiasts and took pain to cover places in the state, were forgotten by the government as soon as the Games is over.
It was not easy being Olly and to walk inside the mascot. A total number of 4 persons acted as Olly.
Amar Kumar Behera, resident of Panchabhuti village near Bhanjanagar in Ganjam district acted as Olly. He visited district headquarters, schools and events to promote AAC 2017. 45 years old Amar earns 5,500 rupees per month. He was given only 4000 as wages for his role as Olly.
The man who acted as Olly inside the stadium during the opening ceremony was a 26 years old youth Upendra Jena. He is a resident of Panikata near Bhubaneswar city and working as a volunteer with a city-based NGO. According to report, he joined team Olly without being informed about the payment.
Dinesh, a 22 years old college student and Satya Narayan a 23 years old volunteer, were also took the charge as Olly during AAC at Kalinga Stadium.
Though the trio enjoyed this opportunity being Olly, it was painful for them to stay hours inside the costumes. They were numb inside Olly.
Neither Amar nor the three others were remembered by the CM and the Team AAC once the event is over. They were not even invited to join the Medal Winners’ Felicitation Ceremony.
However after social media trolls, Director Sports n Youth Services R Vineel Krishna blamed the event management organisation for forgetting Olly.