Odisha government to sponsor national hockey team
In a first-of-its-kind association, Odisha state government will sponsor the Indian national hockey teams, men and women, for the next five years. The state, which is also set to host the 2018 Men's Hockey World Cup, from November 28 to December 16, is understood to be investing around Rs. 150 crore into the sport across five years. Here's more on Odisha's contribution to hockey.
Odisha and Indian hockey
Regarded as a cradle of hockey, Odisha has produced some top quality hockey players across the years. This includes the former greats like Dilip Tirkey, Ignace Tirkey, Lazarus Barla, and Sunita Lakra. National-level hockey events made their debut in the state in 2014, when Odisha Sports Development and Promotion Company bought Kalinga Lancers franchise in the 2nd edition of Hockey India League.
Hosting major hockey events successfully
Besides the upcoming Men's Hockey World Cup, Odisha has been a successful host for several major hockey tournaments in the past. The state had hosted 2014 Champions Trophy where India finished fourth, and the Hockey World League Final 2017. It has a world-class turf in Bhubaneswar's Kalinga Stadium, whose capacity will be increased to 15,000, for the World Cup.
CM Naveen Patnaik on hockey in Odisha
"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 some of India's finest hockey players."- Naveen Patnaik, Odisha CM.
Hockey jersey to feature Odisha's logo
While Odisha's name will be featured on hockey teams' jerseys, the logo is a summation of Odisha. The logo on jersey has in it, the famed Konark Wheel, the state's coastline, endangered Olive Ridley turtles, Odissi dance form, and hockey. "We hope that Odisha's association with national hockey coincides with a golden period for the sport," remarked the Odisha CM while unveiling the logo.