Odisha won the Sportstar Aces Award for the Best State for the Promotion of Sports at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai on Monday. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik graced the occasion and received the award from India batting great Sunil Gavaskar and Suresh Nambath, Editor of The Hindu.
“I would like to thank The Hindu group and Sportstar magazine for this honorable award. In Odisha, we have tried to do a great deal for hockey in the last few years - in the last 15 months, we have built the largest hockey stadium in the world. We believe investment in sports is an investment in youth and investment in youth is an investment in the future,” the honourable CM said.
The state, with its state-of-the-art sports facilities in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Rourkela, has become one of the hottest spots for the development of sports in the country.
From hosting the Odisha Open to opening India’s doors for the FIFA under-17 Women’s World Cup, Odisha has proved itself to be a warm and responsible host throughout 2022.
Last year alone, it hosted 14 national and international tournaments, including badminton, football, hockey, athletics and basketball.
It has also supported numerous athletes, with 33 of them representing India, including hockey stars such as Amit Rohidas, Deep Grace Ekka and sprinter Dutee Chand.
Over 40 athletes have won medals at the national level while 114 athletes have won international medals – a testimony of the state’s judicious investment in the development of sports and sportspersons.
For the upcoming generations, Odisha – with an annual sports budget of Rs. 1426.51 crores – has ensured that all bases are covered.
These involve programs such as a talent identification program across 14 disciplines from block to the state level, five FIFA standard football training centres, hockey training centres and swimming pools across districts.
Legendary India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar, former India hockey captain M. M. Somaya, chess great Viswanathan Anand, former India football skipper Bhaichung Bhutia, Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and Olympians Anjali Bhagwat and Aparna Popat are the members of the Sportstar Aces 2023 jury.
The event is supported by IDFC First Bank, Indian Oil, India Cements, United India, Ramaiah University, Experimenta Science Center GD Naidu Charity, Finolex Pipes, LIC, BPCL, Samsonite, Big Basket, Nippon Paint, CRICHQ, Wordswork, NewsX and Casagrand.