Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday received the 'Best State for the Promotion of Sports' award at the Sportstar Aces 2023 held in Mumbai.
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.
Thanking The Hindu group for honouring him, Patnaik dedicated the award to the people of Odisha.
The Chief Minister also lauded the hard work and commitment of the athletes.
"This event serves as a wonderful platform to celebrate their (athletes) contributions and to inspire future generations to pursue their passion. Athletes are the true ambassadors of our country, and it is our duty to support and encourage them in every way possible," Patnaik said.
Speaking on Odisha's sports ecosystem, the Chief Minister 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 the last five years."
For the coming year, the state's sports budget is more than Rs 1,200 crore. Odisha has successfully hosted many global events, including the recent Hockey World Cup, Patnaik pointed out.
"We are building world class facilities and nurturing talent through high performance centres and competitions. I invite you to be a part of Odisha's sporting journey and together we can bring glory to Indian sports," Patnaik said at the event.
In 2022, Odisha hosted international competitions such as Odisha Open, SAAF U-20 Championship, FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup , FIBA 2022 (SABA Qualifiers), FIH Hockey Pro League, and national competitions such as Indian Women's League, aquatic junior nationals, IWLF youth juniors and senior national weightlifting championship, para athletics championship and para badminton nationals, to name a few.
Also, the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela was recently inducted into the Guinness World Records as the largest fully-seated hockey stadium in the world. Despite an abundance of pandemic induced challenges, the facility, which also houses an Olympic-style hockey village with 225 rooms, was built in merely 15 months.
During his Mumbai visit, the Chief Minister also met several industrialists, including Reliance Industries Ltd CMD Mukesh Ambani.
The Chief Minister and Ambani discussed investment opportunities in Odisha.
Ambani appreciated the progressive governance model, stable political leadership and development of a conducive ecosystem to attract investments to Odisha.
He also expressed interest in exploring the potential for investing in the green energy and minerals sector in Odisha.
Ambani applauded Odisha for being a welfare focused state while being fiscally responsible and expressed his desire to partner in the fields of education, health and skill development.
Patnaik thanked the RIL CMD for his interest in investing and partnering in Odisha's development journey. The CM also assured that the state government will provide all the support and facilitation to the Reliance Group.
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