Odisha Channel Bureau
Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday that sports and fitness activities should become a way of life in our society.
“The world is going through a great crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The importance of sports and fitness has once again been highlighted by this pandemic,” said Patnaik.
The Chief Minister made these points during presentation of the Biju Patnaik Sports Award to outstanding sports persons and coaches on the occasion of National Sports Day on Saturday. The ceremony was conducted through video conferencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We wish to further promote sports to enhance the physical and mental health of our citizens in the State. More than the medals, sports and fitness activities should become a way of life in our society,” said the Chief Minister.
Observing that sport is the symbol of youth power, Patnaik said that it demonstrates energy, power, dynamism, team spirit and above all, an irrepressible desire for winning.
“A society that loves sport develops great potential for success in every other field. Our legendary leader Biju Babu himself was a great sports person and promoted sports all along his life. We are now in the process of realising his dreams of making Odisha a buzzing centre of sports,” he said.
“Odisha has become a major centre of sports activities in the last few years. Today Odisha is known globally as a hub of hockey and we are going to host yet another edition of Hockey World Cup in 2023,” he observed.
“Our focus is on the development of sports infrastructure and coaching facilities at grassroots level sports. Best of the coaches from across the world have been engaged in our high performance centres in various sports disciplines to provide top class coaching. I am sure; our sports persons will continue to excel in national and international sports and bring glory to the State in the coming years.”
The Chief Minister also congratulated the award winners and spoke about the initiatives of the state for making Odisha a global centre of sports.
Jayanti Behera and Deep Grace Ekka received the Biju Patnaik Sports Award for outstanding performance in sports and games. Both of them received Rs. 2 lakh cash award each.
Similarly, the Biju Patnaik Bravery Award was received by Purnima Giri and Sabita Giri who received cash award of Rs. 1 lakh each, medal and citation.
The Biju Patnaik Sports Award for excellence in coaching went to Satya Ranjan Patnaik. He received cash award of Rs. 1 one lakh.
Besides, Siba Prasad Das received a cash award of Rs. 32.50 lakh for coaching to sports persons with disability.
Among others, Padmini Rout, Hupi Majhi, Rajashree Mohapatra, Manisha Merel, Pratyasha Ray also received cash awards.
Patnaik also congratulated the two young girls of Kendrapada who received the Bravery Award for showing such exceptional courage and saving many lives. “They are indeed a shining example of selfless service and an inspiration for the youth,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Sports & Youth Services Minister Tusharkanti Behera said that the objective of the State is to become the best in sports and games.
Former Indian Hockey Captain Dilip Tirkey recalled the memories of Biju Babu as a great sports person. “Today all the sports persons across the world are interested in playing in Odisha. This is certainly a matter of pride for all of us,” he said.
Vishal Dev, Commissioner-cum-Secretary Sports gave the welcome address. Director Sports R. Vineel Krishna offered the vote of thanks.
Among others who attended the ceremony include Chief Secretary Asit Kumar Tripathy, Development Commissioner Suresh Chandra Mahapatra, and Secretary to Chief Minister and 5T Secretary V.K. Pandian.