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Odisha Govt to sponsor Indian hockey team

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Country’s national game Hockey on Thursday received a huge boost with Odisha Government announcing that it will support the game for the next five years. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who made this announcement at a lavish function in New Delhi, also unveiled the state’s logo that will don the new jerseys of both the teams.

The new logo 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.

Speaking on the occasion Patnaik said, “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 also support and nurture India hockey. This is Odisha’s gift to the nation.”

Odisha is regarded as the cradle of hockey and has produced greats like Dilip Tirkey, Ignace Tirkey and Lazarus Barla in the past. The current national teams also have among others the likes of Birendra Lakra, Amit Rohidas, Deepsan Tirkey and Namita Toppo.

The launch was attended by the India players, world hockey’s body FIH and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Dhruv Batra as well as former Olympians including Dilip Tirkey, Dhanraj Pillay and Viren Rasquinha.

Odisha has been supporting the game with various initiatives and also won the Kalinga Lancers in the Hockey India League.

The Capital city of Odisha, Bhubaneswar which has been the venue of international tournaments including the 2014 Champions Trophy and last year’s Hockey World League Final and will also host men’s Hockey World Cup from November 28 to December 16 this year.