Men’s, women’s hockey teams arrive in Odisha; sponsor state to felicitate them
The men’s and women’s hockey team of India that put up a sterling performance at the recent Tokyo Olympics landed in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday to a grand felicitation by Odisha government.
The men’s team won a bronze, 41 years after it won a medal in the Moscow Olympics, while the women’s hockey team reached the semi final for the first time. The Odisha government signed a ₹100 crore deal with Hockey India in 2018 to sponsor both the teams for the next five years.
On Monday, PM Narendra Modi had hosted the teams along with other Olympians at his official residence.
After landing at Bhubaneswar airport, the hockey teams were driven to a hotel in the state capital where they will stay for two days and felicitated. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik is likely to announce some cash prize for each of them during a felicitation ceremony in Kalinga stadium, said officials. In Puri, sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik installed a sand art on the beach, welcoming the teams to Odisha.
Last week, CM Patnaik felicitated four men and women hockey players of the state and gave them cash awards. He gave cheques of ₹2.5 crore each to Indian men’s hockey team vice-captain Birendra Lakra and defender Amit Rohidas and ₹50 lakh each to Deep Grace Ekka and Namita Toppo of women’s team.
Patnaik also handed Lakra and Rohidas offer letters for appointment as deputy superintendent of police in the state police department.
Odisha has hosted major hockey tournaments in the last few years, including World Cup in 2018, Champions Trophy in 2014 and Hockey World League Final in 2017. It would host the 2023 Men’s Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela where country’s biggest hockey stadium with a seating capacity of 20,000 is being built.