Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], January 29 (ANI): In a ceremony held on the eve of the FIH Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela final, FIH President Tayyab Ikram presented the FIH President's Award to VK Pandian, Secretary to the Chief Minister of Odisha, for his outstanding contribution to hockey.
"What we have witnessed here in Odisha in the last 2 weeks is exceptional! Not only the state-of-the-art facilities but also the passion showcased by the Odisha people for hockey - as much for the Indian team as for the others - has been an absolute delight to experience," expressed Ikram.
The FIH President acknowledged the crucial role played by CM Naveen Patnaik along with VK Pandian for hosting a glorious Hockey World Cup.
"With Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik, Pandian has played a pivotal role in making this World Cup a resounding global success. I'm very honoured to present him the FIH President's Award as a mark of deep gratitude from FIH and myself for his personal support and that of the State of Odisha", the FIH President stated as quoted by the FIH website.
On receiving the prestigious award, Pandian said, "I am deeply honoured and humbled to receive the FIH President's Award. I am not the recipient of this Award, I am only the representative of Team Odisha which has put its heart and soul into making this World Cup a grand success. We are inspired by the vision of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik".
Hockey India President Dilip Tirkey said, "I have seen the contribution of Pandian over the last two decades towards the field of sports, especially hockey. Since he himself is a sportsperson, he understands the requirements and always strives to provide the best facilities for the sportspersons. His role is most critical in translating into reality the vision of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to make Odisha a major sports destination".
The FIH President's Award recognises individuals National Associations or other organisations for valuable services to hockey, whether direct or indirect or initiatives which have had a significant effect on hockey at the international level. (ANI)