In recent times, Odisha has become a hub for sports in India India – Hosting major global sporting events as well as in multiple sports.
The state is famous for being a hotbed for discovering and nurturing hockey talents not only in India but all over the world.
After hosting the 2019 Men’s Hockey Championship Globalism Cup, they will once again host the best player in the world again for another edition next year, marking the first time the quadruple event has been hosted in the same city consecutively. Apart from Bhubaneswar, the Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium in Rourkela, which is the largest hockey stadium in the world, will share the match load.
This will be hot on the heels of watching India’s Under-17 Women’s World Cup matches being played at the Kalinga Stadium. The government of Odisha has also been a sponsor of the now defunct Indian darts teams as well as a training venue for the country’s women’s and age group teams.
Along with the Reliance Foundation Odisha Athletics High Performance Centre, the state government is building an indoor athletics facility, which has been designed by James Hillier, director of athletics for the Reliance Foundation athletics programme.
The project is due to be completed by the end of this year after heavy cyclonic rains nearly threatened to derail plans. The facility will serve as an ideal place for Indian athletes to train with daytime temperatures becoming a hurdle, limiting training periods.
Hopefully, the stadium will be completed by December. So far we don’t have any proposal to host an event there. Indoor athletics championships do not exist in India. So maybe we should host an indoor national tournament [India’s first]. It is a matter of regulation by the Indian Athletics Federation, but we will have the stadium ready if they do that,” Venil Krishna, Odisha’s sports minister, told a select group of journalists.
Apart from athletics, Vineel Krishna revealed that Odisha will own a high-performance gymnastics center as well as open badminton and archery centers in collaboration with Bolila Gopichand and Jagan Narang.
“Although we focus on hockey, all said and done, there are only two medals on offer in the sport with whatever investment we make. Whereas something like athletics (in partnership with the Reliance Foundation), swimming (in partnership with JSW Sports) and gymnastics “Naturally, as a country and as a country, we need to get involved in these sports and become a force when it comes to medal scoring,” said Veniel Krishna.
“The center is almost ready at Kalinga Stadium. We are just waiting for Gymnova equipment, a brand that was used in previous Olympics. It will be opened next month. We will also have a gymnastics center in Puri, Jaipur and Cuttack. We wanted to focus on gymnastics because it is in the Khelo India Games and Games.” The last national we got a few medals in gymnastics.So we wanted to focus on that sport.”
After taking over as host to the Asian Athletics Championships in 2017, when Ranchi backed out, and the event took off with just 90 days’ notice, Bhubaneswar’s good intentions as a sporting destination were well established.
“In terms of international competitions, we are open to hosting any events in our priority sports here. Right now, the main focus is on hockey, as it is more popular and attracts fans to the stadium. Besides, the Indian team is doing very well. In athletics, if Athletics Federation of India wants to organize any of the tournaments, we are open to the idea of hosting it here. Likewise for other sports. So far no proposals have reached us to host the events after the Fifa Men’s World Cup in January. But we will be totally open. on it.”
When asked about a possible bid for the Olympics, Veniel Krishna said, “From what we understand, the IOC allows (at most) three cities to be part of a country’s bid. It’s an invitation that should be taken by the Government of India and the Indian Olympic Association. But we will certainly be pleased.” To be a part of that, if given the chance.”
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