The Odisha Government has chosen the Hockey World Cup (HWC) to spread awareness about the Olive Ridley turtle and show its care for the environment. The official mascot of the elite event for the second successive edition, Olly the Warrior, an Olive Ridley turtle, personifies qualities such as being a ‘tactful planner and being cautiously wise.’ It also denotes utmost devotion, ambition and diligence.
The turtle has one of the most extraordinary nesting habits. Each year, lakhs of Olive Ridley turtles swim thousands of kilometres in the ocean to reach Rushikulya and Gahirmatha, on the coast of Odisha, for their annual mass nesting. The amphibian has established a deep connection with the people of the state.
During the HWC, ‘Olly’s Land’ was created at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar and the Birsa Munda Stadium in Rourkela to strike a chord with the general public.
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The steps taken by the Odisha Government should help protect the beautiful creature, which is threatened by harvesting for meat and skin, accidental capture and marine pollution and is safeguarded by national laws and international treaties.
It’s not often you get to sit next to a former international hockey player in a Press Box during a World Cup. Japan’s Ippei Fujimoto, who represented Samurai Japan 58 times, has traded his hockey stick for a laptop and a camera to report on the sport. “I am not a good photographer, maybe an amateur,” he jokes.
Fujimoto gave up the sport in 2017 due to pain in his back and got into coaching, which he still continues to do. But his passion for journalism began during his playing days when he used to blog.
Even now he feels the itch to get on the field. “When I see a player not taking a shot inside the circle, I go ‘What are you doing?!”
He reached Bhubaneswar midway through the tournament and has covered all matches since by relentlessly travelling between the two host cities. He hopes that through his coverage he can help popularise the game better back home.