Bhubaneswar:28/10/17; In a significant decision that will be appreciated by sports and nature lovers alike, the Odisha government has decided to make ‘Olly’ the permanent mascot for all national and international sports events to be held in the state.
With the decision, Olly will now be the official mascot of Odisha for all sporting events including the upcoming World Hockey League finals scheduled to be kicked off from December this year and the Hockey World Cup in November 2018.
Sports Secretary Vishal Dev, said, “Olly captured the imagination of the people after it was unveiled for the first time during the Asian Athletics Championships. We will continue with Olly as mascot for Odisha sports with suitable variations depending on the events.” While the mascot will be displayed with a hockey stick during hockey tournaments, it will be seen with a football during soccer tournaments. Olly represents the rare Olive Ridley sea turtle that is found in large numbers at Rushikulya and Gahirmatha beaches along Odisha coast. Odisha being home to the rare turtles is only one of the few places in the world where the turtles come for their annual nesting with the others being Croatia and Mexico.
Meanwhile the decision to make Olly as the permanent mascot has been welcomed by sports and nature lovers. “We should try our best to spread awareness on the importance of the rare animal so that they can be saved from exploitation,” noted sand artist, Manas Sahu told OTV.
In order to showcase the rare marine species and create awareness on the need for its conservation, Odisha government had conceptualised Olly as the mascot for the Asian Athletics Championships held earlier in August this year.