Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Thursday stated that for loving hockey no official proclamation is required while reacting to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s letter to Prime Minister Modi to notify hockey as the ‘National Game’ of India.
“For loving sports and hockey, we do not need official proclamation. (Like) now (that) it is (our) national sport so let us start loving it. Even in terms of facilities, hockey is one of the priority sports of our country,” he was quoted by news agency ANI.
The Minister added that he would leave this up to the people who love Hockey whether they would want it to be declared a national sport officially or they would continue to love it even if it remains unofficial.
On June 20, Patnaik had written a letter to Prime Minister Modi, urging him to officially recognise hockey as the ‘National Game’ of the country.
“As you know Sir, the next World Cup Hockey will be held in Odisha in November this year. While reviewing the preparations, I was surprised and shocked to know that what is popularly known as the National Game – Hockey, has in fact never been notified as our National Game,” Patnaik pointed out in his letter to Prime Minister Modi.
Odisha Government has been betting big on hockey for the last few years. In February, Patnaik announced a 5-year sponsorship deal of Rs 150 crore for the Indian men and women hockey teams.
Odisha will host the 2018 Men’s Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar from 28 November to 16 December this year.