Bhubaneswar: Ahead of the upcoming Men’s Hockey World Cup, the Capital city will host a two-day sports literature festival from November 2. Titled ‘Ekamra Sports Literature Festival,’ the mega event will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, said the organisers.
Organised by the Sports and Youth Services department of Odisha, the high-powered conclave will see some of the biggest sports stars, including athletes, players, coaches and sports writers of national and international repute taking part. The event will provide sports lovers with an opportunity to interact with their favourite sports stars.
Controversial former sprinter and Olympic star Ben Johnson will headline the festival, which will also feature top international and national athletes such as Stephanie Rice (three-time Olympic gold medallist), former Australian cricketer Jeff Thomson and javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra (Asian Games gold medallist).
Johnson, the 1988 Seoul Olympics gold-medallist in 100-metre who lost his medal after failing a dope test, recently hit the headlines after it emerged that his labpratory report was tampered with at that time.
The inaugural event will feature 30 speakers, including former Australian cricketer Thomson, swimmer Rice and India’s javelin throw star Chopra.
Olympic medallist wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, fomer cricketer Mohammed Kaif, gymnast Dipa Karmakar and wrestler Vinesh Phogat will also participate in the conclave.
Brazilian author Andrew Downie and British journalist Simon James Lowe are among the sports journalist who will be key speakers at the sports literary fest.
The Ekamra Sports Literature Festival will be the first-of-its-kind event in the country. It is expected that the magnitude of the event will lead to the emergence of new sporting philosophy and sports strategy.
“It’s a first-of-a-kind initiative in Odisha and we will have a galaxy of stars under one roof for two days. We hope that after the event, Odisha will emerge as a sporting hub not just in the country, but also across the globe. It will also help in highlighting Odia culture and help in promoting tourism,” Vishal Dev, Commissioner-cum-Secretary of the Odisha Sports and Youth Services department, told the Orissa POST.
According to Dev, the event will be a great boon for the youngsters and the budding sportspersons of the state. “You don’t get to meet and interact with the likes of Ben Johnson (two-time Olympic bronze medallist) and Stephanie Rice (three-time Olympic gold medallist) very often and when the people of these statures will be speaking with you, it’s going to create a lifetime experience.”
“The festival will write a new chapter in the history of Odisha, which is emerging as the sports hub of the country. It is wonderful that such a prestigious event will be held as a run up to the Men’s Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar,” said Odisha Sports and Youth Services Minister Chandra Sarathi Behera.
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