Odisha to sponsor Indian hockey teams for 10 more years
Odisha on Tuesday announced it would continue to sponsor the men’s and women’s national hockey teams for another 10 years after the current sponsorship ends in 2023.
While felicitating the men’s and women’s hockey teams in Bhubaneswar after their stellar show in the Tokyo Olympics, chief minister Naveen Patnaik said, “We, in Odisha, are elated that our partnership with Hockey India has led to this great achievement for the country. I believe, Odisha and hockey are destined to become synonymous. We will continue our partnership with Hockey India. Odisha will support the Indian hockey teams for 10 more years.”
However, the exact amount of sponsorship deals are yet to be revealed. In 2018, Odisha had signed a ₹100 crore deal with Hockey India for sponsoring the men’s and women’s teams for 5 years after Sahara India withdrew after getting entangled in legal issues.
Patnaik, who awarded ₹10 Lakh and each to the players and ₹5 lakh each to the support staff, said each of the hockey players made Indians proud with their spirited fight at Tokyo.
“These are deeply emotional moments for India to witness the revival of Indian hockey. For nearly four decades, hockey fans have been yearning to see India grab a medal at the Olympics. The way the entire country was glued to the screens to watch the hockey teams’ matches, it is quite evident there is something more to hockey than just sports. In these crisis times, the teams have brought smiles to the faces of crores of Indians. We all should be thankful to our boys and girls,” he said. As a token of appreciation, each team gifted a framed Jersey autographed by the players to Patnaik.
Patnaik also gave away the ‘player with the maximum number of goals scored’ award to Harmanpreet Singh while PR Sreejesh won the award for the player with the maximum number of goals saved. Nilakanta Sharma won the award for the maximum number of goal assists, Rupinder Pal Singh won the award for the player with the maximum number of defensive tackles and Harmanpreet Singh and Amit Rohidas were felicitated with awards for maximum interceptions in the midfield.
In the women’s team, Gurjit Kaur and Vandana Katariya won the award for the maximum number of goals scored. Savita Punia won the award for the maximum number of goals saved. Rani Rampal and Navneet Kaur jointly won the award for the maximum number of goal assists. Deep Grace Ekka won for the maximum number of defensive tackles and P Sushila Chanu was awarded for maximum interceptions in the midfield.
Captain of the national women’s hockey team, Rani, said, “The team and I are very happy to be present here today as we wish to express our heartfelt thanks to the Odisha government for supporting our team. Our team is always made to feel so welcome when we come here... Odisha feels very much like the home of Indian hockey now.”
Captain of the men’s team, Manpreet Singh, said it felt good to be back here in Odisha. “This bronze medal may have been won by us as players, but in reality, it equally belongs to India,” he said while praising the CM for supporting the hockey teams.