Bhubaneswar, Feb 15
The Odisha government today announced a first-of-its-kind association with Hockey India for the next five years.
The state also unveiled its logo that will don the new jerseys of Team India – Men’s and Women’s hockey teams.
The launch, held in New Delhi today, was graced by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik along with Team India – Men and Women, President FIH and President, IOA Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra, and legends of Indian Hockey including Dilip Tirkey, Dhanraj Pillay and Viren Rasquinha.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister 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 nurture the Indian Hockey Teams. This is Odisha’s gift to the nation,” he added.
Patnaik further said that the Odisha government would like this association to help widen the net for Hockey in India and to ensure that all Indians get behind the national sport.
He hoped 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 Bhubaneswar this year. We extend a warm invite to everyone to see team India in action,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Hockey India President Mariamma Koshy 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 Govt. 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.”
She said, “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.”
Notably, Odisha is considered the cradle of Hockey and has produced hockey greats like Dilip and Ignace Tirkey and Lazarus Barla in the past.
Players in the current team are Birendra Lakra, Amit Rohidas, Dipsan Tirkey and Namita Toppo 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 stadia brimming come rain or shine.
The State Government recognising the sports loving nature of its 4.5 crore people has been supporting Hockey with various initiatives.
The state is the title sponsor of first of its kind franchise, Kalinga Lancers and was the host city of Hockey World League in November 2017.
It is also the proud title sponsor of the upcoming Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cupin November 2018.
The newly designed logo on the Indian national hockey team jersey is a summation of Odisha.
At its heart is 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, also appears in the logo.
The State Government 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 international standard athletes.
Secondly, making sport a part of the daily fabric of life by taking it to the grassroots, the state is widening the talent pool.
As many as 11 disciplines are taught across the 16 sports hostels.
The six disciplines that have been prioritised are: Athletics, Archery, Weight-Lifting and Badminton as individual sports. And, Hockey and Football as team sports.