Dilip Tirkey: Hockey needs support: Olympian and Member of Parliament Dilip Tirkey has taken upon himself the onerous task of promoting hockey in rural and tribal Odisha.
” Every two years we organize Biju Patnaik Memorial Rural Hockey tournament for rural youth. In the last event, we had about 25000 participants,” says Dilip Tirkey, who is the only Indian to have represented the country in more than 400 internationals. It was in recognition of his contribution to hockey that Odisha Chief Minister Navin Patnaik sponsored and supported him for Rajya Sabha.
If Odisha is becoming a new cradle of hockey, it is primarily because of efforts of Dilip Tirkey. In 2014, it was his efforts that got Bhubaneswar the elite Champions Trophy tournament here. After the Odisha Hockey World League Final, currently in progress in Bhubaneswar, the 2018 World Cup for men is also being conducted here.
Dilip Tirkey played host to journalists who have come to Bhubaneswar for the Odisha Hockey Word League Final. Olympians Jagbir Singh and Asish Ballal also joined Dilip Tirkey at the media interaction.
“As far as sports is concerned, Odisha has been a backward State. We are now trying to create sports infrastructure of international level. Kalinga Stadium is a part of the scheme. A major golf club is also coming up here in Bhubaneswar,” says Dilip Tirkey.
Brahma Mishra, who is Vice-Chairman of Dilip Tirkey Foundation, says that the biannual Biju Patnaik Tournament has been gaining in popularity. The event is conducted in Rourkela.
“Sports is the best way to keep the youth gainfully engaged. Parts of Odisha and this region was considerably under Naxalite influence. But once we started the sports activity engaging rural youth, things have started looking up,” says Brahma Mishra, who worked for Steel Authority of India.