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IANS

The members of Odisha Legislative Assembly led by Speaker Bikram Keshari Arukha on Wednesday visited the existing and upcoming sports infrastructure and high performance centres within the Kalinga Sports Complex.

The legislators later enjoyed the much-awaited tackle between India against Bangladesh at the SAFF-U20 championship ongoing in the stadium.

Sports and Youth Services Minister Tusharkanti Behera and secretary R. Vineel Krishna welcomed the members to the sports complex.

The sports secretary presented the journey of sports in Odisha over the last decade that has established Kalinga Stadium and Odisha as a significant sports hub for marquee events.

"It gives us immense pleasure to have the Speaker and members of the Odisha Legislative Assembly amongst us here at the Kalinga Stadium. Under the leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his vision, sports for youth, youth for future, sports has been accorded priority status and this has propelled Odisha to be a front runner for the top sporting destination in India," said Behera.

The sports and youth services department has been investing in upgrading and developing sports infrastructure, training and coaching and creating opportunities from block to state level so sports flourishes in the state and we have larger representation from Odisha at the national and international level, he said.

Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra emphasised on the importance of giving adequate training, coaching, infrastructure, sports science and nutrition to athletes so they can train and transition to high performance centres (HPCs) and excel at national and international platforms.

Within a short span, athletes from Odisha have been making their mark in swimming, athletics and hockey and in coming years Odisha will produce many players, said Mahapatra.

Secretary (5T), V.K. Pandian, highlighted the Chief Minister's vision to promote sports and to extend all necessary support for sports and take Odisha to the next level in this field.

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