The Resurrection Of Indian Hockey: Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik’s Committed Efforts Bear Fruits

Bhubaneswar: The Indian Men’s Hockey team entered into the semi finals of the Olympics after a gap of 49 years when they defeated Great Britain 3:1 at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday. This historic and emotional win has reinforced the faith of a billion plus people in the Indian National Hockey team. While the players showed a great commitment to the game and their efforts to win the hearts, the win indicates that it is nothing but the resurrection of the Indian Hockey that seemed to have been lost in oblivion in the last few decades. The same is with the Women’s team that has entered the Quarterfinals after a gap of 41 years. And behind this resurrection of the teams and the National Game, remains an unwavering support in the form of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. In the last two decades, Odisha, led by this enthusiastic and ardent hockey fan, has helped turn the table. Today, the country has the best of the hockey infrastructure thanks to the support handed by Naveen Patnaik. His efforts in giving a new lease of life to Indian Hockey has bore fruits. The great leader’s admiration towards hockey can be judged from the video clipping that emerged today wherein he was seen watching the Indian Team’s play and giving them a standing ovation for the win. 5T Secretary V K Pandian, the man behind Odisha’s transformation initiative, a big sports enthusiast, is with the Chief Minister and witnessing the comeback of Indian Hockey.   

After the 1970’s, due to various reasons including the rising popularity of Cricket, the national game of India saw a decline and was relegated to the backseat without any significant wins in international events. Baring a few tournaments, the Indian teams were unable to reach the top four in most of the international events. The emergence of television and dominance by cricket left no space for the growth of the national game and it also lost the state patronisation. But today, things have changed and the winds of change are blowing again in the country. The hopes of more than a billion lives have kindled. Hockey has now got a new home. Odisha has taken unto itself to bring back the lost glory.

Odisha’s tryst with Hockey has been continuing for some decades now. It has sent some of the best players to the national Men’s and Women’s teams in the last few decades. Sundargarh District has become the cradle of hockey in India today. While becoming the sports capital of the country, Odisha has added the best hockey infrastructure in the state. The Kalinga Stadium in Capital City Bhubaneswar is today one of the best Hockey stadiums in the world. Odisha is also adding another feather to its Hockey infrastructure cap in the form of an International Hockey stadium in Rourkela. The Birsha Munda International Hockey Stadium, being built with an expenditure of more than Rs 120 crore, will host the 2023 Men’s World Cup along with Bhubaneswar.

In the last few years, Odisha has hosted some of the most important events in international hockey including the Men’s FIH Pro League, Men’s FIH Olympic Qualifiers, Women’s FIH Olympic Qualifiers, Men’s Hockey Series Finals, Men’s Hockey World Cup, Men’s FIH Hockey World League, Hockey Champions Trophy. The successful hosting of the 2018 Hockey Men’s World Cup in Bhubaneswar made it possible for is to bag the prestigious event for the second time. Odisha has been selected to host the 2023 Hockey Men’s World Cup – a rare fete for a state or country to host two consecutive World Cups.  The state government has also set up a High Performance Centre at the Kalinga Stadium Sports Complex in Bhubaneswar for imparting world-class training to budding hockey players.

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Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar. (File Photo)


The state government has been contributing generously for the development of the game by building mini stadiums in each and every corner of the state. The state run sports hostels are churning out the bright players of tomorrow. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s eagerness to promote the National Game of the country is clearly visible in his efforts in the last two decades. He has also entrusted the development of the sports infrastructure in the able and experienced hands of officers who are leaving no stone unturned.

One of the biggest achievements and contributions of Odisha to Hockey in the recent times is the Sponsorship of the Indian Hockey Teams. Odisha signed a multi-million dollar deal with Hockey India in 2018 to sponsor the National Men’s and Women’s team for five year till 2023. For this, the Odisha government will spend a whopping Rs 150 Crore. For a country obsessed with cricket, this patronization came at the right time. It has helped immensely in supporting the game at its difficult times.

According to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, “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. This is a first where a state government will not just be promoting a sport within its boundaries but will support and nurture the national teams.”

Recognising the efforts of the state in furthering the development of Hockey, International Hockey Federation or the FIH presented Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik with the prestigious FIH President’s Award in 2019. The prestigious FIH President’s Award was given for the State Government’s outstanding efforts to promote hockey, both nationally and globally, through a progressive sports policy and vision for future.

Odisha’s commitment to Hockey was again acknowledged when the FIH conferred the State’s 5T Secretary V K Pandian with the FIH President’s Award for his outstanding efforts to promote hockey in the State during the 47th International Hockey Federation (FIH) Congress in May 2021.

Odisha’s continuous help has ensured improvement in efficiency of the Indian teams. Both the Men’s and Women’s teams have showed brilliant come back in the last few years and the results could be seen in the Olympics. It seems that the wait of the Indians to see India at the helm and win the Olympics is going to be fulfilled very soon.

While the Indian Men’s Hockey Team is getting huge applauds and congratulations for the win against Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympics, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is also being praised for the great fete. Within minutes of the win by the Indian team, the social media has been agog with praises for Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for his contribution in reviving the game.

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