Sportstar Aces Award: Odisha gets the ‘State of the Year Award’ for promoting sports

Mumbai: Adding yet another feather to its cap, Odisha has bagged the ‘State of the Year Award’ for promoting sports. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen received the award from World Champion Viswanathan Anand at a special function held at the Taj Mahal Palace here this evening.

Odisha was declared the winner from three nominees that included Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Speaking on the occasion Patnaik said, “In sports & politics you need passion to succeed. Passion to win makes a winner, passion for game make an icon. Similarly, passion for power wins elections while passion to serve wins people. Without competitive spirit, great achievements aren’t possible.”

“Investment in sports is an investment in youth. And, investment in youth is the investment in the future. Involvement of States is important for sports development. If States adopt games, it will benefit the sports ecosystem & broaden catchment for sports talent,” he added.

Dedicating the award to the people of Odisha, the CM said, “I thank the Hindu & illustrious Jury of Sportstar Aces Awards for honouring Odisha with the “State of the Year for the Promotion of Sports”. I dedicate this award to the four and a half crore sports loving people of Odisha.”

It is worthwhile to mention here that Odisha has been successfully organising several national and international sports events like Men’s Hockey World Cup, Asian Junior Women’s Rugby tournament, the 22nd Asian Athletics Championship, Men’s Hockey World League. It had also hosted the 2014 Hockey Champions Trophy.

Awards were also given to several sportspersons in different categories.

The Award jury was comprised of former cricketer Sunil Gavaskar, Indian field hockey player MM Somaya, shooter Anjali Bhagwat, ace athlete Anju Bobby George & noted journalist and prominent member of the Kasturi family that controls The Hindu Group of publications N. Ram.

The Sportstar Aces Awards has been instituted by the Hindu as a tribute to Indian sportspersons and to recognize outstanding achievement in sports.

Coming back to Odisha government’s move to promote sports, it has identified sports as one of its key focus areas as it aims to attract investment to the sector.

The state government has also signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with several leading industrialists to develop 10 world-class high-performance centres in various sports disciplines. The centres will provide international standard training facilities to potential sportspersons for the Olympics and other international events.

Reliance Industries has partnered with the state government for the athletics centre, while the JSW Group would help in developing infrastructure for football and swimming

Dalmia Bharat Group, in association with the Pulela Gopichand Badminton Foundation, will set up a high-performance centre for badminton while the Ahluwalia Group has extended its hand to develop the weightlifting centre.

The Aditya Birla Group, in association with the Gagan Narang Sports Promotion Foundation, will set up the Birla-Gagan Narang Shooting High-Performance Centre while the Tata Group will develop infrastructure for hockey.

The Xavier-Emlyon Business School will set up a high-performance centre for sports management, while Rungta Mines Ltd and Abhinav Futuristic Pvt Ltd will set up an advanced medical rehabilitation centre.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF), with the Odisha Sports Development and Promotion Company (OSDPC), will establish a high-performance centre to boost football in the state. This will see Odisha become AIFF’s High-Performance Centre with developmental side Indian Arrows getting a permanent base in Bhubaneswar.

Earlier, the state government partnered with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) for the establishment of a high-performance academy for athletics.

Besides, Odisha has announced to sponsor Indian hockey teams for the next five years.

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