Rourkela: With about a month to go for the FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup, Sundargarh district, which is co-hosting the biggest hockey carnival in the world, has plunged into a festive mood.
The celebrations kicked started from Saunamara village in Balisankara block, which has made invaluable contributions to Indian hockey, with the inauguration of a district-level sports and cultural competition on Tuesday.
After the ‘Kick Off’ ceremony, hockey and football tournaments were flagged off in 279 gram panchayats across 17 blocks in the district.
Over 800 hockey teams have registered for the district-level competitions.
Sundargarh is considered the cradle for hockey in Odisha.
Hockey India president and son of the soil, Padma Shri Dilip Tirkey was the main attraction at the event. Tirkey’s daughter Subhadra Pradhan, who capped the Indian Women’s Hockey Team, was felicitated on the occasion.
Tirkey hailing Saunamara said at the function, “The village ground nurtured me in getting a berth in the national team. Many players from villages across the district, along with Saunamara have brought laurels to Sundargarh”.
Sundergarh district collector Parag Harshad Gavali said various programmes are being organised in the district to celebrate Hockey World Cup and appealed to all people to join it.
Programmes are slated to be held in schools and colleges and hockey and football tournaments will be held in rural as well as in urban areas, the collector said.
The administration is leaving no stone unturned to make the grand event memorable.
A special documentary on Saunamara village, better known as the ‘Hockey Village’, and folk dance performance by locals were presented on the sidelines of the event. Friendly hockey matches in men’s and women’s category were organized on the occasion.
The administration has scheduled a series of school and college-level competitions in badminton, volleyball, kabaddi, kho kho, hockey and football with an objective of building up the sports tempo in the district in the build for the marquee event for students.
Different folk dance and music troupes in the tribal dominated district will be roped in in the celebrations through thematic programmes in the run up to the Hockey World Cup, Gavali said.