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Dragflick Newsdesk : Former Indian Men’s Hockey Team Captain Dilip Tirkey is one of the most beloved figures in Indian hockey. Presently serving as the Chairman of the Odisha Hockey Promotion Council, Tirkey engaged in a candid conversation in his guest appearance on Hockey India podcast Hockey Te Charcha.

Speaking about the proactive role of the Odisha State Government in providing support to Indian hockey, the former Captain of the Indian Men’s Hockey Team credited Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik for the Men’s and Women’s Team’s promising showing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“If we look back at the success of both, the Men’s and Women’s Teams at the Tokyo Olympics, a lot of credit for the performance goes to Shri Naveen Patnaik Ji along with Hockey India and the players. His vision for building one of the best hockey stadiums in the world in Odisha (Kalinga Stadium) dates as far back as 2003, and he has left no stone unturned in turning that vision into reality,” said Tirkey.

After successfully hosting the 2018 Hockey Men’s World Cup in Bhubaneswar, Tirkey spoke with fervor about the upcoming 2023 Hockey Men’s World Cup, set to be co-hosted in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela. He said,

“Co-hosting the 2023 World Cup in Rourkela is going to have a massive impact on the people in the region as the area is filled with people who love hockey with a passion. The Sundargarh district is the ‘hockey hub of India’, and this event will further inspire young kids to take up hockey on a professional level.”

Dilip Tirkey; who holds the Indian record for most International appearances, with 412 Caps over a 15 year-long International career, touched upon the changing landscape of the game in recent years. He said,

“Hockey has really changed over the years – not just the game and how players approach it, but also the spectators. Today, after many years, there is an excitement among people for hockey. This is the case not just in India, but even abroad. To a major extent, I believe we owe this change to the Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik Ji’s vision.

A few years ago, it was unimaginable for Bhubaneswar to host an event of such magnitude. Today, people in the city are crazy about hockey, thanks in large part to the World Cup.”

“There were 300-metre-long queues during a few games in the 2018 Hockey World Cup. That is something I never imagined would be possible, but I am glad that hockey is finally getting the recognition it deserves in the region,” he concluded.

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