Bhubaneswar: In a shocking and surprising statement, union minister of youth affairs and sports Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore today said that no official proclamation is needed to love hockey, the national sport.
“For loving sports and hockey, we do not need official proclamation.now since it is our national sport, so let us start loving it. Even in terms of facilities, hockey is one of the priority sports of our country,” he was quoted by a news agency.
The sports minister of India added that he would leave this up to the people who love hockey whether they would want it to be declared a national sport officially or they would continue to love it even if it remains unofficial.
Rathore’s statements came a day after Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to officially notify Hockey as the national game of the country.
In his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had noted that the game is hugely popular “across different strata of society and regions” and “cutting across the rural urban divide”.
“Hockey truly deserves to be notified as our national game. The next World Cup Hockey will be held in 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,” Naveen Patnaik wondered in his letter.
Odisha will be hosting the Men’s Hockey World Cup scheduled to be held in November-December this year in Bhubaneswar.