Bhubaneswar: Two Olympians from Odisha – sprinter Dutee Chand and former hockey captain Dilip Tirkey — have engaged in a war of words over the state government’s sports policy, with the athlete criticising the BJD dispensation for spending more on hockey and not paying attention to other games.
Tirkey, the former ruling party MP in the Rajya Sabha, slammed Chand for her statement.
“The Odisha government has been spending crores of rupees for development of sports infrastructure. There is politics over games.
“You are only concentrating on Hockey India and promoting it with the government funds. There is no money for other sports, particularly athletics. This is why the state has been unable to produce international athletes for a long time,” Chand had on Friday posted on Facebook and later deleted it.
Tirkey, a Padma Shri awardee, strongly reacted to Chand’s comment and said the state government has been supporting all sports.
“As a sportsperson, I strongly condemn this kind of statement from another sportsman (sportsperson) who herself belongs to Odisha. Odisha Government has always given importance to all sports be it Hockey or be it athletics,” Tirkey wrote on Twitter.
Since 2015, Chand has received financial assistance of Rs 4.09 crore from the state government, the sports and youth services department said in July in 2020. She has been appointed as an officer in the state-run Odisha Mining Corporation.
“And if people really do not know that hockey is the game which has given recognition to India in International level. This comment is unparliamentary and discouraging for fellow athletes. And lastly, being a player one should learn to give respect to other players,” Trikey added.