NEW DELHI: The Odisha government on Thursday unveiled a first-of-its-kind partnership with Hockey India under which it would sponsor the national Men’s and Women’s teams for the next five years.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik who announced the association at a gala function in the national capital unveiled the jersey with Odisha logo in presence of president of Federation of Indian Hockey Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra and legends of Indian hockey such as Dilip Tirkey, Dhanraj Pillay and Viren Rasquinha.
The sponsorship is unique in the sense that for the first time a state has come forward for such an association.
Thanking Hockey India for offering the platform, Naveen said, this is a first where a state government will not just be promoting a sport within its boundaries but also support and nurture Indian hockey teams. “This is Odisha’s gift to the nation,” he said.
Odisha is the host and title sponsor of Men’s Hockey World Cup 2018 which will be held in November in Bhubaneswar. Welcoming all, Naveen said, the association between Odisha and Hockey India will help widen the net for the game in India.
“We hope that Odisha’s association with national hockey coincides with a golden period for the sport. We look forward to all the nations playing the Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar this year,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, president of Hockey India Mariamma Koshy said the commitment to build and usher in Indian Hockey into a new era will continue as the team prepares for the World Cup.
“We are confident that this association will be a boon for further developing the hockey in India and bringing more glory to the country. As the team gears up for Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup, we urge all to extend support their quest to bring the World Cup home,” she said.
This association with Hockey India is expected to build the brand image of Odisha which has emerged as an international sporting destination. Last year, it successfully hosted the Asian Athletics Championships as well as the Hockey World League Finals at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. The Odisha Government is also the title sponsor of Kalinga Lancers, a franchise of Hockey India League.
The announcement preceded a performance by playback singer Sona Mohapatra.