Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], March 28 (ANI): Odisha government, led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, on Sunday received the prestigious Sportstar Aces Award, 'Best State of the decade for the Promotion of Sports' at an award ceremony here in the state capital.
Patnaik received the award from Olympic gold medallist and former India hockey captain MM Somaya.
The state has been at the forefront of hosting major sports events, developing world-class infrastructure, supporting all forms of sports, creating a bouquet of high-performance centres and strengthening its grassroots programs which have collectively contributed to the sustainable and holistic development of the sports ecosystem and has been noted as a 'Giant of the Decade'.
Accepting the award, the Odisha CM said, "I humbly accept this award on behalf of the people of Odisha and dedicate it to the thousands of sportspersons from the state who work hard every day to bring glory to the state and nation. I also dedicate this to the tens of lakhs of youth of the state with great potential. I call upon them to think big and assure that the state government will always be there to support them in realising their dreams and making the state proud."
"Odisha has created the environment and access to sport. More important is the work done at the grassroots because, in the end, the champions come up, but they have to start somewhere. Odisha has simply done extremely well in the last few years. It is a part of states' responsibility, but Odisha takes the time out and do so much for sports and the athletes and that needs to be appreciated," shared chess legend Viswanathan Anand.
"Odisha has led the movement when it comes to sports in India They've not just encouraged sports - they are traditionally good at sports like hockey and athletes - but have contributed to Indian sport in its entirety. The infrastructure that has come up from private and public partnerships is world-class. The events they've brought in and conducted were a big success. They are looking at grassroots development very seriously as well as sports education and sports science. Overall, they have a very well-thought-out and executed plan and they keep growing. Their thinking and investments are for sport in the long term and today," said badminton legend Aparna Popat.
The Sportstar Aces Awards 2021 celebrated the consistency of performance and the impact of sports stars in the decade between 2011 and 2020, honouring 31 winners across Indian sports in this year's 'Giants of the Decade' special. (ANI)