Bhubaneswar: India’s hockey resurgence has been the talk of the town in recent years and behind it is the contribution of the Government of Odisha. On Tuesday, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik announced that the state will continue to sponsor Indian hockey for 10 years.
Having held hands with Hockey India, back in 2018 the partnership bore fruits as India ended their 41-year Olympic medal drought with the men clinching bronze in Tokyo. The women also created history when they made it to the Olympic semifinals for the first time at this stage.
“We, in Odisha, are elated that our partnership with Hockey India has led to this great achievement for the country. I believe, Odisha and hockey are destined to become synonymous”, added Mr. Patnaik.
“We, in Odisha, are elated that our partnership with Hockey India has led to this great achievement for the country. I believe, Odisha and hockey are destined to become synonymous”, added Patnaik during the felicitation ceremony in Bhubaneswar.
”I believe, Odisha and hockey are destined to become synonymous. We will continue our partnership with Hockey India. Odisha will support the Indian hockey teams for 10 more years”, he further added.
Patnaik played a silent role in his efforts to uplift the overall development of the game he played in his school days. He was the only one to step up in 2018 for sponsoring both the men’s and the women’s sides after Hockey India lost all of its sponsorships. Fast forward to 2021 and the results are there to be seen.
“You made us all so proud with your spirited fight at Tokyo. These are deeply emotional moments for India to witness the revival of Indian Hockey. For nearly four decades, hockey fans have been yearning to see India grab a medal at the Olympics,” he added.
“The way the entire country was glued to the screens to watch the hockey teams’ matches, it is quite evident there is something more to hockey than just sports. In these crisis times, the teams have brought smiles on the faces of crores of Indians. We all should be thankful to our boys and girls,” the CM said.
Patnaik announced awards of Rs 10 Lakhs to each of the players as well as Rs 5 lakh each to the support staff. Besides this, the CM gave away 13 different awards. While Harmanpreet Singh was awarded the Best Men’s Player, goalkeeper PR Sreejesh was rewarded for his work under the sticks.
Nilakanta Sharma won the award for most assists, Rupinder Pal Singh won the Best Defender award. Harmanpreet and local lad Amit Rohidas were felicitated with awards for maximum interceptions in the midfield.
In the women’s side, Gurjit Kaur and Vandana Katariya were awarded Best Players while Savita Punia was adjudged equivalent to Sreejesh. Rani Rampal alongside Navneet Kaur won the award for most goal assists. Local Deep Grace Ekka was awarded for most successive defensive tackles and P Sushila Chanu got her one for making most interceptions in the midfield.