New Delhi: Odisha will sponsor Indian hockey teams, both men and women, for the next five years, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced at a special function here today.
After unveiling the logo that will don the new jerseys of Team India: Men’s and Women’s hockey teams, Naveen said, “We are delighted at this association with Indian hockey and we thank Hockey India to have given us this platform. Hockey in Odisha is more than a sport; it’s a way of life, especially in our tribal regions, where children learn to walk with hockey sticks. No wonder, Odisha has produced India’s finest hockey talent. This is a first where a state government will not just be promoting a sport within its boundaries but will support and nurturethe Indian Hockey Teams. This is Odisha’s gift to the nation.”
The State of Odisha is the cradle of Hockey, and has produced hockey greats like Dilip and Ignace Tirkey and Lazarus Barla in the past, and players in the current team like BirendraLakra, Amit Rohidas, DipsanTirkey and NamitaToppo to name a few. The Odisha government has extended its support to the sport through state-funded sports hostels and nurturing athletes that are an integral part of the men’s and women’s national team. The worship of the sport extends to the common man where hockey tournaments are commonplace in the smallest villages, and stadiums brimming come rain or shine.
The Odisha Government recognising the sports loving nature of its 4.5cr people has been supporting Hockey with various initiatives. The state is the title sponsor of first of its kind franchise, Kalinga Lancers and wasthe host city of Hockey World League in November 2017. The state is also the proud title sponsor of the upcoming Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup in November 2018.
CM Naveen Patnaik further added, “We would like this association to help widen the net for Hockey in India and to ensure that all Indians get behind the national sport. We hope that Odisha’s association with national hockey coincides with a golden period for the sport. We are looking forward to all the nations playing the Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneshwar this year. We extend a warm invite to everyone to see team India in action.”
The newly designed logo on the Indian national hockey team jersey is a summation of Odisha. At its heart the Konark Wheel: a symbol of progress and empowerment, the land of the rising sun, the famed coastline that has for centuries been a trade route and even today welcomes the endangered Olive Ridley turtles, the Odissi dance form and of course hockey – which unites the entire state.
Speaking on the occasion, Ms Mariamma Koshy, President, Hockey India said, “We are committed to building and ushering Indian Hockey into a new era, which begins with the team gearing up for the 2018 Hockey World Cup. We are delighted to associate with Government of Odisha and we are confident that this association will be a boon for further developing the sport of Hockey in India and bringing more glory to the country. As the team gears up for the Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup we urge one and all to extend their cheer to Team India and support their quest to bring the World Cup home.”
The Government of Odisha is following a focused approach in nurturing sports. This is being done by way of a well-defined two-pronged strategy: nurture and in turn create global athletes. Secondly, make sport a part of the daily fabric of life, thereby taking it to the grassroots, and in that widening the talent pool.11 disciplines are taught across 16 sports hostels. Six disciplines that have been prioritised are: Athletics, Archery, Weight-Lifting and Badminton as individual sports. And, Hockey and Football as team sports.
The launch was graced by Naveen Patnaik along with Team India: Men and Women, Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra, President, FIH and President, IOA and legends of Indian Hockey including Dilip Tirkey, Dhanraj Pillay and Viren Rasquinha.
Notably, Odisha’s capital city Bhubaneswar will host the men’s hockey World Cup from November 28 to December 16.