Mumbai:27/2/23: Odisha was awarded the ‘Best State for the Promotion of Sports’ at the 2023 Sportstar Aces 2023 Awards in Mumbai today. The state won this prestigious award for the fourth time.
The recognition comes as a result of the state’s unique sports model, which is built around the pillars of partnership for sporting excellence, competition, coaching, infrastructure and welfare schemes for meritorious athletes.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik received this award from Suresh Nambath, Editor, The Hindu and legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar at a ceremony hosted by The Hindu Group in Mumbai.
The awards jury comprised an eminent panel of champions, with former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar at the helm. Other members include, Abhinav Bindra, Aparna Popat, Anjali Bhagwat, Bhaichung Bhutia, MM Somaya and Viswanathan Anand.
Thanking The Hindu group – Sportstar for awarding Odisha as the best state in sports promotion, Chief Minister dedicated this award to the people of Odisha.
Patnaik lauded the hard work and commitment of the athletes. He also went to commend Sportstar for their work in recognising the efforts of athletes across India. “This event serves as a wonderful platform to celebrate their (athletes) contributions to the world of sports and to inspire future generations to pursue their passions. Athletes are the true ambassadors of our country, and it is our duty to support and encourage them in every way possible,” he said.
The Chief Minister further said, “We are making huge investment in sports, which is investment in youth and therefore investment in our future. We have increased our budget for sports by more than 10 times in last five years. In the coming year, our sports budget is more than 1200 crore. We have successfully hosted many global events including the recent Hockey World Cup. We are building world class facilities and nurturing talent through high performance centres and competitions. I invite you to be and be part of Odisha’s sporting journey and together we can bring glory to Indian sports. It’s the collective dream of all Indian to see the national flag fly high at the Olympics. We should all work together and make it a reality.”
In 2022, athletes from Odisha brought laurels by winning medals in international and national competitions. Furthermore, the FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023 held in Bhubaneswar – Rourkela has garnered attention and admiration for Odisha in the sports fraternity.