Don’t Need Official Proclamation To Love Hockey: Rajyavardhan Rebuffs Naveen

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New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to officially notify hockey as India’s national sport has received widespread support on social media with journalists, sportspersons and even Bollywood actor retweeting the same.

Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, however, on Thursday said that there was no need for an “official proclamation to love hockey”.

“For loving sports and hockey, we do not need official proclamation. (Like) now (that) it is (our) national sport so let us start loving it. Even in terms of facilities, hockey is one of the priority sports of our country,” he was quoted by news agency ANI.

He added that he would leave it to people, who love the sport, to decided whether it should be officially declared as national sport or they would continue to love it even otherwise.

On Wednesday, Naveen took to Twitter to congratulate Indian Hockey Women’s team for their impressive performance and win against Spain, while taking pride in brand Odisha displayed big and bright on player’s T-shirt. He then tweeted to Modi with a letter attached, speaking about how hockey deserves to be notified as India’s national game.

“As you know Sir, the next World Cup Hockey will be held in Odisha in November this year. While reviewing the preparations, I was surprised and shocked to know that what is popularly known as the National Game – Hockey, has in fact never been notified as our National Game,” he had pointed out in the letter.

Speaking to Odisha Bytes, former Indian hockey captain Dilip Tirkey had earlier lauded it as a much-needed initiative by the CM to promote hockey.

“I request people to support our CM and promote this sport. I am glad our government is sponsoring and promoting hockey so well. I urge you all to involve yourself in the step taken by CM as hockey needs more recognition,” he added.