Former Indian hockey team captain Dilip Tirkey on Thursday appreciated Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s initiative to officially notify hockey as the national game of the country.
Tirkey’s reaction came a day after Patnaik wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention for issuing a notification to accord national game status to hockey.
In his letter to Modi, Patnaik had wondered as to how there was no official notification declaring hockey as a national game.
“I appreciate chief minister’s work and research which bring to light that hockey is not yet the national sport officially. If you check facts, you’ll realize an RTI filed in 2012 had revealed the same. People’s misconception had the sport taken for granted, when hockey actually brought laurels to the country in the past,” Tirkey, a former Rajya Sabha member, said.
Tirkey, who too belonged to Patnaik’s BJD, urged the people across the country to support Odisha chief minister and promote hockey in India. “India has got highest Olympic gold medal in hockey. Therefore, it should be promoted more,” he said.
He said the state’s hockey players are happy that the Odisha government is sponsoring and promoting the game.
“I urge you all to involve yourself in the step taken by CM as hockey needs more recognition, Tirkey added.
Tirkey found support from former Indian national hockey team player Lazarus Barla, who said: “Like Odisha Chief Minister, other state CMs should also write to the Prime Minister and mount pressure to notify hockey as the national game. We appreciate Patnaik’s initiative.”
Patnaik’s letter to the Prime Minister has also received widespread support on social media.
Patnaik’s letter was posted on his Twitter handle within 24 hours.