**Bhubaneswar: ** While Hockey fever has gripped sports enthusiasts of the State, the Capital City denizens were witness to a glittering event on Wednesday where Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik unveiled the official logo and mascot of Hockey Men’s World Cup-2018.
With about a year to go for the mega event, the inauguration ceremony, served as a prelude to the upcoming Hockey World League Finals, scheduled to begin from December 1 at the Kalinga Stadium.
“Odisha is becoming a sought-after destination for international sporting events. Few months back we had successfully hosted the Asian Athletics Championships,” said Naveen, who also launched the ceremonial countdown timer for the international event scheduled here from November 28 to December 16, 2018.
The Chief Minister also gave away cash awards worth Rs 76.75 lakh to 59 achievers from the State for their significant contributions in the field of sports.
Hockey players Dipsan Tirkey, Amit Rohidas Sunita Lakra, Deep Grace Ekka, Namita Toppo and Rashmita Minz received a cash prize of Rs 7.5 lakh each. Para athletes Jayanti Behera, Pramod Bhagat and Mohit Tandi were also awarded.
Odisha players, who are part of the National team participating in the Hockey World League, exhibited confidence to perform their best in the tournament. “We are not taking any opponent lightly. The practice sessions are comprehensive and we will deliver our best,” they said.
Among others, Sports Minister Chandra Sarathi Behera, Bhubaneswar MP Prasanna Patasani, Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi and Sports and Youth Affairs Department Secretary Vishal Dev were present.