Odisha state to sponsor Indian hockey teams for the next five years

Odisha state to sponsor Indian hockey teams for the next five years

"But we will continue to be associated with hockey probably as co-sponsor of the World Cup in Bhubaneswar but after consultations with Odisha Government", Abhijit Sarkar, head of Corporate Communications, Sahara India Pariwar, said.

The State government of Odisha has made a decision to sponsor the Indian hockey team for the next five years. Though the officials remained tight-lipped about the amount of money to be pumped in by the state government, sources said the Odisha Mining Corporation, a state-run PSU, would spend around Rs 20 crore towards various expenses. This is the first time a state has come forward for such an association. Though the exact figures of Odisha's deal could not be confirmed, people familiar with the matter said it could be anything between three to four times of what Sahara was paying.

Global hockey federation's head Narinder Batra said they were happy with the new association. No wonder Odisha has produced India's finest hockey talent.

The teams will be put through rigorous training camps ahead of this year's Asia Cup (for both men and women), World League (for both men and women) followed by Commonwealth Games and Senior Men and Women World Cup's in 2018. The state government also owns the Kalinga Lancers franchise in the Hockey India League.

The State of Odisha is the cradle of Hockey, and has produced hockey greats like Dilip & Ignace Tirkey and Lazarus Barla in the past, and players in the current team like Birendra Lakra, Amit Rohidas, Dipsan Tirkey & Namita Toppo to name a few. Bhubaneswar has hosted global tournaments like the 2014 Champions Trophy and last year's Hockey World League Final.

Pakistan, who did not qualify for the 2014 World Cup, are the most successful team in the sport's showpiece event with title wins in 1971, 1978, 1982 and 1994.

Praising State government's work the International Hockey Federation President Narendra Batra said Odisha can proudly be said Sports Capital of India.

"I was always happy holding event in Odisha because it is very friendly state and the environment is also very friendly".

Pakistan have qualified for the World Cup to be held in the eastern Indian city of Bhubaneswar between 18 November and 16 December.

"FIH strongly believes that hockey is an inclusive sport, aimed at celebrating diversity and promoting friendship and respect".

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