Thanks to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Indian hockey has ushered into a new era and got the rightful tribute that this ancient game genuinely deserved. The successful hosting of the Hockey World Cup 2018 has not only helped Odisha to emerge itself a global sporting hub with Bhubaneswar being the national sports capital, but also created a special place for hockey in the hearts and minds of the people across India and beyond.
In a country like India where cricket is a religion, the future of hockey is often considered unsecure. But the unprecedented enthusiasm and sporting spirit shown by sports lovers and common people for the HWC 2018 has rekindled the hope that hockey is returning to its glorious days. The future of hockey is bright, and certainly very bright.
The Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2018 will always be remembered as an epic event in the history of sports in India. Bhubaneswar will remain a citable for future mega sporting events. It’s a sign of developed Odisha that has made rapid strides in various sectors in the last 18 years under the Naveen rule.
Hockey is more than a sports, it’s a way of life for millions of people in India. It is a great unifier and symbol of national pride. The Indian hockey team has won a total of eight gold, one silver and two bronze medals in Olympics. In order to promote the game and revive its lost glory, the Odisha Government has decided to sponsor the national men's and women's hockey teams for the next five years. This is for the first time a State is sponsoring a national hockey team.
Naveen had set this unique trend of sponsoring national hockey teams by a State, which earlier had private companies as sponsors. Recently, he also requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to accord the game its rightful place by officially notifying it as National Game.
Sports is always above the politics. It’s about building a healthy and fit society. It is also about actively engaging the youth and streamlining their talent. The successful hosting of the Hockey World Cup is the right step in this direction.