Naveen Patnaik felicitates hockey Olympians from Odisha

Patnaik felicitates Hockey Olympians from Odisha

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who can justifiably lay claim to the title of principal patron of hockey in India, on Wednesday felicitated the men and women players from his state who were part of the teams that created history at the Tokyo Olympics.

At a function held at Bhubaneswar's Kalinga Stadium, Patnaik felicitated Deep Grace Ekka, Namita Toppo, Birendra Lakra and Amit Rohidas.

The chief minister handed over the cash award of Rs 25 million to Birendra Lakra and Amit Rohidas. Patnaik also handed over the offer letter for appointment as deputy superintendent of police in the State Police department. He appreciated the performance of the players in winning a Bronze medal in hockey for the country after 41 long years.

Patnail handed over a cash award of Rs 5 million each to Deep Grace Ekka and Namita Toppo, who were part of the Indian women’s hockey team at the Tokyo Olympics. He commended the spirited fight of the women’s team in reaching the semi-finals and creating history in Indian Hockey.  

Lauding their performances, Patnaik, while advising them to continue their hard work and bring more laurels to the country, also assured them full support in future.

Kalinga Stadium has become the global hub of Hockey. The next edition of the Men’s Hockey World Cup will also be played Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar. 

Lakra, vice-captain of the men team, presented Patnaik with a team jersey with signatures of all his fellow team members. Ekka, vice-captain of the women's team, presented a similarly signed women's team jersey to the chief minister.

The hockey players from the High-Performance Center and the Sports hostel were present during the ceremony. Patnaik assured all support to the emerging players from Odisha.

Odisha's Minister for Sports and Youth Services Tusharkanti Behera and chairman, Odisha Hockey Promotion Council, Dilip Tirkey, secretary 5-T, VK Pandian and Secretary Sports R Vineel Krishna also graced the ceremony.