Cuttack: When we talk about hockey in Odisha, the first name that comes to one’s mind is of Dilip Tirkey. The legendary defender from Sundergarh, who led the Indian team for long, is the chief architect of the hockey revolution in the State.
With Odisha gearing up to host its third global hockey event in November this year, odishatv.in caught up with Dilip Tirkey to know more about his life away from the turf and his plans for the development of hockey in the state. Here are the excerpts....
- Staying away from the hockey turf
Although I am retired as a hockey player but I am still working for the development of the game from villages to cities in Odisha. Our State is certainly progressing in the field of hockey which gives me a lot of happiness.
- Current international players from Odisha
There was a time when five to six players from Odisha played for India and now the scene is different. Birendra Lakra is a very good player and has contributed a lot for the Indian team as a defender. It was unfortunate that he had to sit out because of his knee injury. Dipsan Tirkey has been doing really well at the junior level and he is a bright youngster and a good future prospect for the senior Indian team. Amit Rohidas is also a very fit player and his fast rush during a penalty corner against opponents is very promising. All of them are doing well but they need to focus on playing for longer period of time at the international level. We also need to focus on creating more quality players from the state.
- Organising big tournaments in Odisha
It's a matter of joy and pride for us to organise major hockey events in Bhubaneswar. As organisers we are going to become the best in the world as Kalinga Stadium is a world class venue for hockey tournaments. The state government is getting involved in organising many international events in the state capital. The foreign players are also very happy about the venue as the crowd here is supportive which is very important for players. The way the popularity for the sport is increasing day by day, I think it will grow tremendously in the future.
- Preparations for Men’s Hockey World Cup 2018
The Sports department and the organisers are working hard for the World Cup. The extension of galleries and other works for development of infrastructure are going on in full swing at the venue. Bhubaneswar has already gained a very good reputation for hockey. Many people have already booked their rooms for the World Cup that is slated for November this year and this shows how excited they are to come here for the mega event.
- Development of hockey in coastal Odisha
Hockey is developed in Sundergarh because of the craze for the sport there. The game is a part of people's daily lives and they can’t live without hockey. Even the small clubs in villages there organise hockey tournaments on their own. If the district associations and clubs in the coastal belt will organise hockey tournaments at the junior level or the school level in ground levels, then only the game will develop here and the players from the coastal districts will do well in the future.
- Future players from Odisha and a message for them
The three players from Odisha are in the senior Indian team and doing well. Similarly, Xess (Nilam), Anand Lakra have also been performing at the junior level and there are many others like them who are all set to leave mark at the national and international stage. I wish them all the best. All the players need to keep their focus on the technique of the game and need to give special care on fitness so that they can play for a longer period. The hockey coaches should give more time to players and should think to produce better players for the future to bring laurels for the state and the country.