The members of the Indian Women’s and Men’s Hockey Teams, who put up a creditable show at the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics, were extended a warm welcome upon their arrival at Bhubaneswar.
It is pertinent to note here that the Odisha government is the official sponsor of the Indian Hockey Teams since 2018. The men’s team won a medal at the Tokyo Olympics after a gap of 41 years while the women’s team performed admirably finishing fourth at the Olympics.
The reception accorded to the hockey stars was warm with locals lining up to catch a glimpse of the hockey internationals. In the past, the national cricketers had received this sort of welcome.
The State’s Sports and Youth Affairs Minister TK Behera and former Indian Men’s Hockey captain Dilip Tirkkey were present to greet them.
The players were taken on two separate buses to a hotel where they will relax for some time before attending the state-level felicitation programme to be attended by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
According to the schedule, the team will have lunch at the hotel and then have an interaction with journalists before leaving for the Kalinga Stadium.
Both the teams will have a photo session with the chief minister at the Kalinga Stadium.
In the evening, the teams will leave for the Lok Seva Bhavan where they will be felicitated by Patnaik.
The teams are also scheduled to have dinner with the chief minister at Kalinga Stadium.
The state capital was decorated to welcome the Olympic heroes with posters, banners and hoardings put up on both sides of the roads between the airport and their hotel.
They were welcomed by blowing conch shells, garlands and tika. Besides, Odisha’s traditional and folk dance groups performed on the road to welcome the heroes.
The people of Bhubaneswar, mostly students, also gathered on the roadside to welcome the hockey heroes.