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Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik urges PM Modi to designate hockey a National Game

Naveen Patnaik in his letter to Narendra Modi said he was surprised and shocked to know that hockey has never been notified as the National Game.

india Updated: Jun 21, 2018 07:28 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
Naveen Patnaik,Hockey,National Game
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik with the skippers of Indian men's and women's hockey teams Rani Rampal and Manpreet Singh at a function in New Delhi on February 15. Odisha will sponsor the national men's and women's hockey teams for the next five years.(PTI File Photo)

Ahead of the World Cup Men’s Hockey tournament in November this year, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare hockey as the ‘National Game’ of India.

“Hockey truly deserves to be notified as our National game. The next World Cup Hockey will be held in Odisha in November this year. While reviewing the preparations, I was surprised and shocked to know that what is popularly known as the National Game -- Hockey, has in fact never been notified as our National Game,” Patnaik wrote in his letter to the PM.

In August 2012, the Ministry of Youth Affairs in a reply to an RTI query from a 10-year-old girl Aishwarya Parashar had revealed that India does not have a national game as such.

Patnaik said in 1948 India’s hockey team had won the Olympic gold medal. “A nation of 33 crores rejoiced the gold was won in London by defeating Great Britain. For any country winning an Olympic gold medal is a proud moment. What makes it more glorious is to hear the national anthem being played on the global stage, while the country’s flag goes up,” he said.

Odisha has been betting big on hockey for the last few years. In February, Patnaik announced a 5-year sponsorship deal of Rs 150 crore for the Indian men and women hockey teams. Describing it as Odisha’s gift to the nation, Patnaik said hockey is a way of life in Odisha’s tribal region, where children learn to walk with hockey sticks.

In January 2017, Odisha government sponsored the Kalinga Lancers hockey team that won the Hockey India League. In December 2017, Odisha successfully hosted the Hockey World League despite unseasonal rains.

The Hockey Men’s World Cup will be held between November 28 and December 16 at the Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneswar.

First Published: Jun 21, 2018 07:28 IST