By The Hockey Paper
The chief minister from Odisha, hosts of this year’s men’s World Cup, has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to recognise hockey as the official national sport of India.
Since India won a host of Olympic titles – six consecutive golds between 1928 and 1956 – hockey has been seen as the unofficial national sport in a country where cricket now rules the waves.
Naveen Patnaik wrote to the prime minister on Wednesday and posted an open letter on social media urging the Indian premier to make hockey the official No 1 sport.
Patnaik wrote: “As you know Sir, the next World Cup Hockey will be held Odisha in November this year.
“While reviewing the preparations, I was surprised and shocked to know that what is popularly known as the National Game – Hockey, has in fact never been notified as our National Game.
“Hence I am sure you will agree with the crores loving fans of our country – that Hockey truly deserves to be notified as our National Game.
“This will be fitting tribute to the great Hockey players who have made our country proud,” Patnaik said.
In February, the Odisha government replaced Sahara as India hockey’s official sponsors.
— Give Me Hockey (@hockeyind) June 20, 2018
The announcement was made by Patnaik in February as the state governement decided to support the team for a period of five years.
The men’s hockey World Cup will be held in Bhubaneswar, the ancient city in India’s eastern state of Odisha, in November and December.