Odisha: Fostering future legacies for sport and state

Given the rising popularity of sports in Odisha, the state’s infrastructure development module, designed to host state-, national- and international-level competitions, will help athletes climb the next rung of the sporting ladder.

Odisha has sanctioned Rs244 crore that will focus on building a state-of-the-art aquatics complex, a tennis centre, an indoor athletics stadium and other advanced facilities as part of the expansion and upgrade of the infrastructure at the Kalinga Stadium.   -  Special Arrangement

Over the last decade, Odisha has invested significantly in making the state a sporting destination with a majority of the budget dedicated to infrastructure development. Given the rising popularity of sports in the state, this infrastructure development module, designed to host state-, national- and international-level competitions, will help athletes climb the next rung of the sporting ladder.

After successfully organising the 2018 Men’s Hockey World Cup, Odisha will stage the 2023 edition in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela. The state cabinet recently approved a state-level sports project with an estimated outlay of ₹356.38 crore for the development of infrastructure at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar and the construction of the Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium in Rourkela.

With a seating capacity of 20,000 spectators, and spread over 15 acres of land on the Biju Patnaik University of Technology campus, the new hockey stadium in Rourkela will be built at a cost of ₹112 crore and will boast state-of-the-art facilities, a tunnel connecting the changing room and a practice pitch, along with a fitness centre and a hydrotherapy pool around the pitch.

The state is also gearing up to host the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup in 2022. As part of the preparations, four FIFA-standard football training centres have been developed in Bhubaneswar costing ₹55 crore.

“Staging international events requires us to develop world-class infrastructure and allied facilities. Post the events, these facilities continue to host competitions while also allowing elite athletes to train there. The facilities continue to foster future legacies for the sport and the state,” said Odisha sports minister Tusharkanti Behera.

The rise of high-performance centres

The state government signed a series of memorandums of understanding (MoUs) in collaboration with several corporates and set up high-performance centres (HPCs), and also tied up with several industrialists and legendary sportspersons including Abhinav Bindra, Pullela Gopichand, Gagan Narang and Anil Kumble to scout, nurture and groom athletes at these HPCs.

“It is a unique partnership model, and athletes at these HPCs have shown a marked improvement in their performances. The infrastructure for these HPCs is the responsibility of the state government. In order to cater to the requirements of the HPCs and other sports disciplines, expansion and upgrade of the infrastructure facilities at Kalinga Stadium have commenced. The facilities and infrastructure will further ensure a holistic training ground for them to transition to becoming elite athletes,” Behera said.

With a seating capacity of 20,000 spectators, and spread over 15 acres of land on the Biju Patnaik University of Technology campus, the new hockey stadium in Rourkela will be built at a cost of Rs112 crore and will boast state-of-the-art facilities, a tunnel connecting the changing room and a practice pitch, along with a fitness centre and a hydrotherapy pool around the pitch.   -  Special Arrangement

 

Along with development of the HPCs, the expansion and upgrade of the infrastructure facilities at Kalinga Stadium are already underway. For this project, the state has sanctioned ₹244 crore that will focus on building a state-of-the-art aquatics complex, a tennis centre, an indoor athletics stadium and other advanced facilities.

The 1,000-seater aquatic complex will have a 50m Olympic-size swimming pool along with a 25m practice pool. The 2,000-spectator seating athletics complex will boast 100m and 200m metres indoor running tracks and a dedicated pole vault facility, along with shot put and high jump arenas. The facility, which will also consist of an anti-doping centre, will also house the athletes.

Focus on regional and district-level infrastructure

At the regional level, integrated sports complexes are being developed in 10 districts at a cost of ₹170 crore. The integrated sports complexes will have facilities for both indoor and outdoor games such as badminton, table tennis, cricket, basketball and tennis. A hockey stadium is also being developed in Jajpur.

Infrastructure at gram panchayats, urban local body and block level

At the gram panchayat level, through the panchayati raj department, sports arenas are being developed to encourage young children to play sports. To promote sports at the grassroots level, the state is also planning to set up 88 Biju Patnaik Indoor Stadiums under 114 urban local bodies at a projected cost of ₹600 crore.

Giving better sports infrastructure access to the youth from rural areas, 149 urban mini-stadiums and 314 rural mini-stadiums across 30 districts at an estimated cost of more than ₹150 crore are being developed across the state.

In addition, around ₹200 crore has been sanctioned to develop 20 new hockey training centres, of which 17 will be in Sundargarh district – the hockey cradle of the state.

“The government is focused on providing the best infrastructure and facilities to the athletes and budding sportspersons right from gram panchayat level to the state level. Considering the abundance of talent in sports at the grassroots, it is very important to not only create a talent pathway, but also develop all-inclusive and accessible infrastructure such as training grounds to help in their transition to the next level of excellence and also create a sporting culture in the community,” the sports minister said.