Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated and launched the ‘My Heart Beats for Hockey’ campaign Wednesday on the occasion of National Sports Day, at the Kalinga Stadium here. He also unveiled the countdown clock, reading 90 days to go, for the Hockey Men’s World Cup, November 28 to December 16.
“I am glad to be here to join the campaign. I also pay my tributes to Dhyan Chand, whose birth anniversary we celebrate as National Sports Day. He will always be a source of inspiration for millions,” stated Patnaik.
Speaking about the game of hockey, Patnaik said, “Hockey has a prominent place in the sports history of Odisha as the state has produced some big names who have brought laurels for the country at the global stage.”
“And the World Cup is the top tournament. Therefore, my government is taking all the steps to organise it in a befitting manner and ensure that it’s a grand success,” he concluded.
The campaign aims at garnering public support for hockey through music, entertainment, fashion, sport and panel discussions. It will urge people to pledge their support to the game with the slogan, “My heart beats for hockey, does yours?”.
Besides, ‘Heartbeat Centres’ will be set up in some selected cities across the country including Jalandhar, Lucknow, Ranchi, New Delhi, Chennai and others to promote the world cup.
As part of the campaign, specially designed hockey sticks will be installed and made available in six cities including Chandigarh, Bangalore, Mumbai, Bhopal, Rourkela and Imphal. Additionally, two permanent installations at Kalinga Stadium will be made accessible to the masses.
On this occasion, the Biju Patnaik Sports Awards were also conferred. Patnaik congratulated all the award winners on their achievements and wish them further success in their sporting endeavors.
Also present at this auspicious occasion, were, sports minister Chandra Sarathi Behera, chief secretary Aditya Padhi, Olympian Dilip Tirkey, sports secretary Vishal Dev, director Vineel Krishna and Hockey India CEO Eleena Norman.