South Asia and Beyond

Why And How Odisha Backed Sports

NEW DELHI: In recent years India has witnessed unprecedented success in non-cricket sports. The big story has been the remarkable revival of Indian hockey—men, women, and juniors.
Alongside we saw Neeraj Chopra win a gold medal in javelin at the Olympics. Similarly, our athletes competing in archery, boxing, badminton and so on are on the winners podium at various international sporting events.
This remarkable renaissance is happening due to a host of factors. And in this Odisha has an important footnote. It has very quietly—without the customary chest thumping—successfully developed a state of the arts sports infrastructure. Amazing for a state which was never considered frontline in development. Yet, it has not hesitated in forking out the funds to grow the state as a sports hub.
What was the thought behind this pivot? How is it ensuring that these expensive sports assets do not go to seed—as we witnessed after the conclusion of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi?
To answer all of this and more we spoke to Vineel Krishna, Secretary Sports in the Odisha government.

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