Panel appreciates Odisha CM's efforts to support hockey

Take cue from Naveen Patnaik: Parliamentary panel to states on sports development

Patnaik was mentioned in the report on the action taken by the government on the panel's recommendations on 'Preparation for Olympic Games 2021'

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Credit: PTI Photo

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik received special praise from a Parliamentary Standing Committee for his support for the Indian men's and women's hockey teams, with the multi-party panel recommending states to set up high-performance centres as he did in his state.

The mention came in a report tabled by Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports headed by BJP MP Vinay P Sahasrabuddhe last Friday, which also said that every state should focus on one sport specific to that region and develop High-Performance Centres on the lines of Odisha.

The report on the action taken by the government on the panel's recommendations on 'Preparation for Olympic Games 2021' mentioned Patnaik contribution while discussing the issue of national sports federations losing sponsorships due to the economic stress induced by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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In its latest recommendations, the panel said sponsorship in sports has the potential of providing much-needed support for infrastructure development and better performance by sportspersons.

It had earlier recommended that the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model could be adopted for creating sports infrastructure and rope in corporates the way Odisha did to fund ten high-performance centres.

"The Committee in its collective wisdom has appreciated the initiative and efforts taken by Naveen Patnaik...in setting up the High Performance Sports centres and sponsoring both men’s and women’s Hockey team...since 2018, which has translated into better performances by both these teams at Tokyo Olympics 2020," the panel said.

The men's team finished with a bronze, ending a 41-year-old medal drought in hockey in Olympics, while the women's team ended fourth after a spirited fight.

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"States should also identify and promote the raw talent from a tender age and provide them with the much-needed support of international standards in terms of equipment, sports kit, coaching (team and individual), exposure and mental conditioning in order to nurture them for participation and podium finish at the international level," it said.

The panel also recommended that there should be an assured 3 per cent sports quota reservation in government jobs for all medal-winning athletes and also for the period of unemployment, the Department of Sports should grant financial aid to the athletes.

It said sportspersons who bring laurels to the country "need to be honoured as they are a collective pride of the nation".

Recommending that the government should take concerted efforts for ensuring sustainable employment opportunities for all meritorious sportspersons, the report said sportspersons are able to remain in high form and take part in major competitions for a limited period.

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So, it added, some career option needs to be devised for meritorious sportspersons, who have won medals not only in Olympics but other major international and national sporting events.