From Odisha Hockey World Cup to Dutee Chand's Asian Games medals: 10 important sporting happenings in Odisha in 2018
2018, when Odisha galloped into world stage with panache, announcing itself as Sports Capital of India and a global sports destination. The world watched in awe as the world came to play in Odisha. Tanmay Das retraces the historic year for Odisha sports
1. Odisha Hockey Men’s WC
Nineteen days, 16 teams, packed stadium, edge-of-the-seat encounters, deafening cheers - Odisha dazzled the world with its spectacular arrangement of the hockey’s showpiece event. Belgium won the Cup but Odisha stole the hearts by its feat which the world hockey acknowledges - “the best ever and cannot be repeated”
2. World class sports infra
With focus on sports development, the State Government went on a mission to develop world class sports infrastructure across disciplines from track and field, hockey, badminton to swimming. The renovated Kalinga Stadium hockey complex is among the top three in the world.
3. Rugby Rocks
China, Laos, Philippines, Qatar, Sri Lanka, UAE, Bangladesh, Thailand, Hong Kong, Nepal, Chinese Taipei and India took part in the 3rd Asia Rugby U-18 Sevens Girls Championship at Kalinga Stadium. China emerged champion while host India finished fourth.
4. First Sr international tennis meet in State
Players from Germany, Argentina, Italy, Czech Republic, Russia, Chinese Taipei, Serbia, France and the host India took part in the ITF Men’s Circuit Tournament 2018 at Kalinga Stadium. Odisha’s Ansu Kumar Bhuyian, Chinmay Pradhan, Pratyus Mohanty and Kabir Hans featured in the tournament.
5. Cash bonanza for sportspersons
To honour the achievements of State’s players, Odisha Government increased cash award for Asian Games medalists to Rs 3 crore, Rs 1.5 crore and Rs 75 lakh for gold, silver and bronze respectively. Earlier, the cash prize was Rs 40 lakh, Rs 25 lakh and Rs 12.5 lakh respectively for individual events.
6. High-Performance Centres for sports excellence
To usher in a flourishing sports culture and aid development of talents across sporting disciplines, the State Government tied up with major corporates and reputed organisations for setting up high performance centres in hockey, shooting, badminton, weightlifting, athletic, football and swimming.
7. First Odia woman shuttler to win international medal
Odisha shuttler Rutuparna Panda paired with Arathi Sara Sunil to the women’s doubles title at the Hellas Open-2018 badminton tournament in Greece on October 21.
8. Odisha sportspersons shine in Asian Games
Odisha’s star sprinter and national champion Dutee Chand bagged silver medals in 100 metre and 200 metre in the Asian Games at Jakarta. Odia women hockey players Sunita Lakra, Lilima Minz, Namita Toppo and Deep Grece Ekka were the part of the silver medal winning Indian women hockey team in the Asiad. Similarly, Birendra Lakra and Amit Rohidas were the part of the Indian men’s hockey team that bagged bronze medal.
9. Para-athletes bring glory
Odisha shuttler Pramod Bhagat won gold and silver in the Category SL3 singles and doubles events respectively while sprinter Jayanti Behera claimed a silver and bronze in 400 metre and 200 metre sprint in the Asian Para Games at Jakarta.
This was a golden year for Pramod as he claimed seven more international medals including gold at 4th Turkey Para Badminton International and Australia Para Badminton International. Soundarya Pradhan and brother Prachurya bagged silver medals at Asian Para Games Chess. Soundarya also won silver in the World Junior Individual Chess Championship for Blind and Visually Impaired at Poland.
10. ISL bonanza for soccer fans
Indian Soccer League team Jamshedpur FC adopted Bhubaneswar as its second home ground and played its matches on the renovated international standard football pitch at Kalinga Stadium. Odisha again was the host of AIFF Super Cup where top six teams of I League and ISL participated. Bengaluru FC became the champion.