Why is Odisha believed to be the Sports Capital of India?

Many states in our country have been yearning for sports growth. Amongst all, Sports in Odisha have made inroads under CM Naveen Patnaik's vision. Having done the unreal, the state is believed to be the sports capital of India. Here’s why:

  • Ownership of a team in the nearing Ultimate Kho Kho (UKK) League
  • Best State of the decade for the Promotion of Sports award at the Sportstar Aces Awards 2021
  • Wheelchair Basketball 3x3
  • First Indian state to sponsor National Hockey Teams
  • Sponsors Indian National Rugby teams
  • Sponsored I-league team Indian Arrows and U-15 football team for 2019
  • Hosted free Referee & Coach License courses for the ex-footballers of the state
  • Hosted inaugural Khelo India University Games at KIIT university

Following the recent budget session of the state assembly, Odisha earmarked a mind-boggling Rs 911 crore for the state’s sports. Rs 719 crore is allocated to the development of sports and youth services and other sports infrastructure in the state, Rs 115 crore is set aside for encouragement of sports education and Rs 11 crore is provided to support Khelo India. Around Rs 59 crore is dedicated to administrative and management purposes.

From Rs 28 crore in 2010-11 to Rs 911 crore in 2022-23, Odisha's contribution to the advancement of sports is electrifying, commendable and beyond compare!

Table of Content:

Sports Championships held at the Sports Capital of India - Odisha

2014 - Hockey Champions Trophy by Hockey India

2017 - Asian Athletics Championships by Athletics Federation of India

      FIH Hockey World League by Hockey India

2018 - Hockey World Cup by Hockey India

      Asia Rugby U18 Girls Rugby Sevens Championships by Rugby India and Odisha Rugby Football Association

      India F1 Futures by Odisha Tennis Association

2019 - Women's Gold Cup by AIFF & Football Association of Odisha

      Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships by Odisha State Table Tennis Association

2021 - Men's FIH Hockey Junior World Cup by Hockey India

2022 - BWF World Tour by Badminton Association of India

       FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup by AIFF & Football Association of Odisha

If you take heed of the events, you will reckon that Sports in Odisha revels in its many associations. Besides, a massive amount of manpower, top-class infrastructure and other facilities are needed at hand to host tournaments on national and international levels. Odisha’s transformation is a marvel of a firm plan, dedication, hard work and unity.

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Grassroot Centres

The journey of an athlete from a local playing ground to an international stadium is far from glamorous. An endless amount of groundwork is needed to groom a player. Odisha, as a responsible sports capital, is a hub of grassroot centres. The centres house fundamental requirements and coaches who impart training to girls and boys around the year. Further, committed players, with the best talent and enthusiasm to bag a gold for India are promoted to the HPCs in Bhubaneshwar.

It is only when you share a genuine urge to do something for the betterment of sports can you thrust such initiatives. We salute CM Patnaik’s vision of "Sports for Youth; Youth for future"

High-Performance Centres (HPCs)

The next big thing in the history of CM Naveen Patnaik as a visionary leader is the bouquet of High-Performance Centres (HPCs) set up at the Kalinga Stadium.

  1. Abhinav Bindra Targeting Performance (ABTP)
  2. Dalmia Bharat Gopichand Badminton Academy
  3. JSW Swimming HPC
  4. Khelo India State Centre of Excellence (KISCE) for Athletics, Hockey, and Weightlifting
  5. KJS Ahluwalia and Tenvic Sports HPC for Weightlifting
  6. Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High Performance Centre (ONTHHPC)
  7. Odisha Aditya Birla and Gagan Narang Shooting HPC
  8. Reliance Foundation Odisha Athletics HPC
  9. SAI Regional Badminton Academy
  10. Udaan Badminton Academy
  11. AIFF High Performance Centre

These 11 high-performance centres are a novel initiative in the history of Indian Sports by the Odisha Government. They exhibit a PPP model (Public-Private Partnership). Conforming to the agreement, Odisha Sports Department is responsible for infrastructure development and other expenditures fall under the budget umbrella of corporate associations on board. The centres have been launched with an idea to facilitate the holistic development of young sportspeople. Winning is a long-term goal and to enable the state athletes to be at the top of their game, HPCs are designed with futuristic facilities to offer world-class training and more.

In addition to the HPCs, 89 multi-disciplinary indoor stadiums, 20 hockey training centres, 16 sports boarding houses and 314 rural mini stadiums have been engineered across the sports capital of India. From only Barabati Stadium in Cuttack then to these infra properties now, access to sports infrastructure in Odisha has become a lot easier giving the state players an edge over others.

Not to forget, the largest hockey stadium in India with a 20,000 seating capacity is a 'Work in Progress' project in Rourkela, Odisha. The upcoming Hockey World Cup 2023 will be jointly hosted at the Rourkela stadium and the striking Kalinga Stadium.

Conclusion:

You will find people discourse at great length on the need for improvement & scope for development in Indian sports. But, how many of them decide to spread their wings? Only a small handful of the population. It is no surprise that India is dawdling at the medal tally. If you are a sports fan like us, we are sure that you feel a pang of remorse over the poor history of Sports in India. However, when leading corporates give a much-needed leg-up to the government, a positive change is inevitable. If the athletes of our country are provided with everything that they need to excel in their sport, their efforts are bound to turn into goals and medals ultimately.

India is not deprived of sports talent. What is truly lacking is the accessibility of resources that are essential for a player, such as support, infrastructure, funds and more. Alongside the sports capital of India, BigHit is here to bury the detachment between players and their basic yet key requirements. Also, give supporters and coaches of our nation a platform they all deserve and need!