Odisha CM Naveen urges Modi to ‘notify’ Hockey as national game

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to officially recognise Hockey as the national game of the country and issue a notification for the same as Odisha gets set to host the game’s biggest competition, the Men’s World Cup in November this year.

Patnaik shot a letter to Modi citing he was shocked to learn that Hockey has never been notified as the ‘true National Game of India’ while reviewing preparations for the upcoming World Cup scheduled to be played at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

Patnaik said Hockey is hugely popular in the country both in rural and urban areas and is loved across different strata of society and regions. “The game is a way of life in the tribal areas of Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand,” Patnaik wrote in the letter.

Noting that India has left a remarkable legacy in the game, Patnaik highlighted how the country lifted Gold Medals one after other in the face of British colonisation prior to 1947 and how the game’s presence in international sports arena became a part of Indian psyche.

Recognising it as the national game would be a fitting tribute to the great hockey players who have made the country proud stated Patnaik adding further that Hockey truly deserves to be notified as our National Game and it will inspire the future generations.

Despite winning eight gold medals, one World Cup and being the most successful sports in the country, Hockey was never officially notified as the national game. The matter created furore after a notice by Union ministry of Youth Affairs a few years ago. The ministry was responding to an RTI query by a ten-year-old girl, Aishwarya Parashar.