Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said Tuesday that the state government will extend its association with Hockey India (both the men’s and women’s teams) by 10 more years till 2033. Naveen Patnaik announced the extension of sponsorship while felicitating the Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams here Tuesday.
The men ended India’s medal-less run for 41 years at the Olympics with a bronze medal at Tokyo. The women, on the other hand missed out on a podium finish by a whisker losing to Great Britain in the third-fourth play-off match.
Men’s team captain Manpreet Singh and women’s team skipper Rani Rampal were both present at the programme. The chief minister announced cash award of Rs 10 lakh for each member of both the teams while the support staff were rewarded with Rs 5 lakh each. Among the support staff was Odia doctor, Col (Dr) Bibhu Kalyan Nayak who was part of the team as medical officer.
Also present during the felicitation ceremony were IOA president Narinder Batra, Hockey India (HI) president Gyanendro Ningombam and other dignitaries.
“You made us all so proud with your spirited fight at the Tokyo Olympics. These are deeply emotional moments for the nation to witness the revival of Indian hockey. The country has been waiting for such a moment for more than four decades,” Patnaik said.
In the background of Covid pandemic, it is remarkable that our teams have worked so hard in spite of all challenges and emerged victorious. We should be thankful to our boys and girls for the smiles they brought on the Indian faces amid the Covid-19 crisis,” added Patnaik.
The Odisha CM then announced that the partnership with Hockey India will continue till 2033. “I believe, Odisha and hockey are destined to become synonymous. We will continue our partnership with Hockey India and Odisha will support the Indian hockey teams for 10 more years. This will herald a new era of Indian hockey and bring back the glory to the nation,” Patnaik said.
As a token of appreciation, the men’s and women’s teams presented Patnaik with a jersey signed by all members.
The state government also gave away individual prizes of Rs 5 lakh each to certain players for their stellar performances. Among the recipients were Odisha players Amit Rohidas and Deep Grace Ekka.