Odisha Government has replaced Sahara India as the official sponsor of the Indian National Hockey team. The deal has been announced at a ceremony in the Capital on Thursday.
As part of the deal with Hockey India, the national governing body for the sport, Odisha State Government has become the official sponsor of the national men’s and women’s hockey teams for the next five years. “It is a historic step for us to support and sponsor Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams for the next five years. Today, every Odia is proud that Team India will wear Odisha (State) logo,” the Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had told media.
This is the first occasion that a State Government in India has come on board to sponsor a sports team. The sponsorship will abruptly end Sahara India group’s association with the Indian hockey team. Sahara, associated with the Indian hockey since 1995, last year had extended the national team sponsorship through 2021.
The State had also unveiled its logo that will appear on the new jerseys of India national hockey teams – Men’s and Women. The State Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik along with the national team players, FIH and IOA president Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra and Indian hockey legends Dilip Tirkey, Dhanraj Pillay and Viren Rasquinha attended the launch ceremony in the Capital on Thursday.
“We are delighted at this association with Indian hockey and we thank Hockey India to have given us this platform. Hockey in Odisha is more than a sport; it’s a way of life, especially in our tribal regions, where children learn to walk with hockey sticks. No wonder, Odisha has produced India’s finest hockey talent. This is a first where a State government will not just be promoting a sport within its boundaries but will support and nurture the Indian Hockey Teams. This is Odisha’s gift to the nation,” added the Chief Minister.
The state has been the title sponsor of first of its kind franchise, Kalinga Lancers and was the host city of Hockey World League in November 2017. The State is also the proud title sponsor of the upcoming Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup in November 2018.
“We would like this association to help widen the net for Hockey in India and to ensure that all Indians get behind the national sport. We hope that Odisha’s association with national hockey coincides with a golden period for the sport. We are looking forward to all the nations playing the Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneshwar this year. We extend a warm invite to everyone to see team India in action,” Patnaik added.
The newly designed logo on the Indian national hockey team jersey is a summation of Odisha. At its heart the Konark Wheel: a symbol of progress and empowerment, the land of the rising sun, the famed coastline that has for centuries been a trade route and even today welcomes the endangered Olive Ridley turtles, the Odissi dance form and of course hockey – which unites the entire state, states a Hockey India Press release.
“We are committed to building and ushering Indian Hockey into a new era, which begins with the team gearing up for the 2018 Hockey World Cup. We are delighted to associate with Govt. of Odisha and we are confident that this association will be a boon for further developing the sport of Hockey in India and bringing more glory to the country. As the team gears up for the Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup we urge one and all to extend their cheer to Team India and support their quest to bring the World Cup home,” said Mariamma Koshy, President, Hockey India.