Sundargarh: With a little over a month to go for the FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup tournament in January 2023, Sundargarh district, which is co-hosting the biggest hockey carnival in the world, has plunged into a celebratory mood.
The celebrations were kicked off from Saunamara village, in Balisankara block, which has made invaluable contributions to Indian hockey, with the inauguration of a district-level sports and cultural competition in a ‘Kick Off’ ceremony on Tuesday.
Following the inaugural function, which was held at the Suanamara High School ground, hockey and football tournaments were flagged off in 279 Gram Panchayats across the 17 blocks in the district. Over 800 hockey teams have registered for the district-level competitions.
Hockey India President and son of the soil, Padma Shri Dr. Dilip Tirkey was the main attraction at the event. Dr Dilip Tirkey and daughter of the soil, Subhadra Pradhan who capped the Indian Women’s Hockey Team, were felicitated on the occasion.
“I owe all the recognition and fame I have achieved in my life to my village Saunamara where I was born. The village ground nurtured me in getting a berth in the national team. Many players from villages across the district, along with Saunamara, have brought laurels to Sundargarh,” said Dr. Tirkey while speaking after the felicitation.
“Various programmes are being organized all over the district to accord a grand welcome to the Hockey World Cup. A number of programmes are slated to be held in schools and colleges along with hockey and football tournaments in rural as well as urban areas. The Administration is leaving no stones unturned to make the grand event attractive and unforgettable,” said Collector Dr. Parag Harshad Gavali while appealing all citizens to join the celebrations.
Chairman Special Development Council Sundargarh Binay Toppo, MP Sundargarh Jual Oram, MLA Talsara Bhabani Shankar Bhoi, MLA Bonai Laxman Munda, MLA Sundargarh Kusum Tete, ZP Chairman Kunti Pradhan, ZP Vice Chairman Kamal Lakra joined the ceremony.
SP Sagarika Nath, ZP CDO & EO Manoj Satyawan Mahajan, DI & PRO Nandini Mundary and other senior officials of the district were present on the occasion.
A special documentary on Saunamara village, better known as the ‘Hockey Village’, and folk dance performance by locals was presented on the sidelines of the district-level sports and cultural event. Friendly hockey matches in men’s and women’s category were organized on the occasion.
ZP Members Jayanti Ekka, Belmati Dharua, Chairperson Balisankara block Kunjalata Bhitiria, BDO Jyotirmayee Pradhan and Sarpanch Saunamara Bulu Barla were among others present on the occasion.
The administration has scheduled a series of school and college-level competitions in badminton, volleyball, Kabaddi, kho kho, hockey and football with an objective of building up the sports tempo in the district in the build for the marquee event. Moreover, a string of events are also scheduled for development of creativity among students.
Various folk dance and music troupes in the tribal dominated district will also be roped into the celebrations through thematic programmes in the run up to the Hockey World Cup.