Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Government’s decision to sponsor the India hockey men’s and women’ teams for five years has left former India captain Dilip Tirkey delighted as he feels this will give a much-needed boost to local players.
“Steps like these are very important for development of hockey. The State Government had earlier backed the Kalinga Lancers franchise, then we hosted Champions Trophy in 2014 and World Hockey League Finals last year. These kind of activities raise the knowledge about the game and promotes sports among the youth,” Tirkey told OB.
Tirkey, whose name is almost synonymous with hockey in Odisha, said it was satisfying to see so much being done for Odisha sports. “Odisha and hockey go hand in hand. The craze for hockey has been there for years and I am thankful to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for giving so much to the sport,” added the hockey legend Tirkey, who is now a Rajya Sabha member.
ହକି ପାଇଁ ଏହାଠାରୁ ବଡ଼ ଉପହାର ଆଉ କଣ ହୋଇପାରେ, ପ୍ରଥମଥର ପାଇଁ କୌଣସି ରାଜ୍ୟ ଜାତୀୟ ହକି ଦଳର ପ୍ରାୟଜକ ହେବାର ଗୌରବ ଲାଭ କଲା । ଆମ ମୁଖ୍ୟମନ୍ତ୍ରୀ କେବଳ ଓଡିଶା ରାଜ୍ୟ କାହିଁକି ଦେଶରେ ହକିର ବିକାଶ ପାଇଁ ନିଜ ପ୍ରତିବଦ୍ଧତାର ପରିଚୟ ପ୍ରଦାନ କରିଛନ୍ତି । pic.twitter.com/KBkFmEAc0X
— Dilip Kumar Tirkey (@DilipTirkey) February 15, 2018
Tirkey, who was one of the world’s best defenders, pointed out that since the days (late seventies and early 1980s) of Michael Kindo, the first tribal hockey player to lead the Indian team, Odisha’s connection with hockey has been strong. Now, the State Government’s series of initiatives will make the bond stronger and make the stick game more popular.
Bhubaneswar will next be hosting the Hockey World Cup later this year. “The World Cup that we would be hosting is an important tournament. The manner in which the national team has of late been performing, especially it clinching a bronze in World Hockey League Finals, I hope their performance will get even better,” he added.