‘Will Continue To Strengthen Sports Infrastructure’: Minister
Although the coronavirus outbreak has led to the postponement of several sporting events scheduled in Odisha this year, the state government has reiterated its desire to continue supporting sports in the post-COVID world.
“These are unchartered waters for us all and a learning curve. The best practices from across sectors are being considered to chart a course ahead. Moving forward, this phase might lead to a much-required change in the sporting landscape. As we hope to resume sports in full swing, we have issued a detailed SOP as per the guidelines of the central government,” said Tusharkanti Behera, Minister for Sports and Youth Services, in a webinar hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry.
Behera emphasized that the health of athletes and support staff will be given the utmost priority as sporting activity resumes in the state.
“In the future, certain elements of sports training that can continue online and can be offered to trainees through different models will get integrated into the training regime,” said the minister.
“A few months back, Kalinga Stadium had its galleries packed with fans cheering for their favourite team at the FIH Hockey Pro League. But going forward, events will be held in closed stadia. Technology and content on OTT platforms will play a crucial role in not just engaging and entertaining the fans but also remotely or digitally cheering for teams,” he added.
The minister also assured the people that focus on sports will continue to remain a priority for the state government.
“We will continue to develop and strengthen infrastructure to make sports inclusive and accessible to all. Several key projects, including the development and renovation of pitches for the U-17 Women’s World Cup, have resumed. The 2023 Men’s Hockey World Cup is ahead and work has commenced. Permanent facilities for some of the operational high-performance centres are also on the cards,” said Behera.