The State of Odisha has long been known for its association with hockey and the number of international stars that hail from there. The Odisha government has been a sponsor of the men’s and women’s national senior and junior hockey teams since 2018, and this partnership is set to continue until 2033. Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, is home to the Kalinga Stadium, a multi-purpose sports complex that hosted the Men’s FIH Hockey World Cup in January 2023. The world’s largest hockey stadium, Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium in Rourkela, is also located in Odisha.
In addition to its hockey infrastructure, Odisha has made significant strides in other sports as well. Under the leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and VK Pandian, Chairman of 5T Initiative, Odisha has emerged as the No. 1 sports hub in India. The state has invested in top-class infrastructure and facilities and has hosted various international events, such as the Asian Athletics Championships.
Furthermore, the Odisha government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to establish the AIFF-FIFA Talent Academy at the Odisha Football Academy in Bhubaneswar. Renowned football manager Arsene Wenger, FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development, praised the infrastructure in Odisha and expressed his happiness to be in India.
Odisha is also home to world-class athletic and other sports infrastructure, including the Kalinga Stadium Sports Complex, Indoor Athletics Centre, Indoor Aquatic Complex, and a Sports Science Centre. The state has also partnered with various corporates to promote and support different sports disciplines, including shooting, athletics, hockey, swimming, and weightlifting.
Under the leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Odisha has seen significant progress in various fields. The state’s sports budget has increased substantially, and it has set benchmarks in disaster management and poverty reduction. With a focus on healthcare and infrastructure development, Odisha is making strides to become a top sporting nation in the world.