Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Under 17 Men’s and Under 14 Women’s Hockey teams are headed to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to participate in the 1st National Hockey Development Program (NHDP) International Tournament from November 26 to December 3, 2022. The tournament will feature 8 men’s teams and 7 women’s teams from Japan, Singapore and Malaysia competing in group-cum-knockout format.
This is the first time any state hockey team is travelling to compete in an international tournament and all of this has been possible because of the visionary leadership of the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and the efforts of the Sports and Youth Services Department in collaboration with the Hockey Association of Odisha.
The teams feature players from Sports Hostel, Rourkela, Sundargarh, and the Odisha Naval Tata Hockey HPC. The teams will be competing as Sports Odisha (Men) and Sports Odisha (Women).
Sports Odisha (Men): Abhishek Kispotta (Captain), Binit Xalxo (Vice-Captain), Vivek Lakra, Dipsan Kujur, Amit Singh, Jay Stenly Dadel, Deepak Pradhan, Bilkan Oram, Samir Barwa, Salmon Toppo, Nitesh Minz, Harun Minz, Pratap Toppo, Anshu Baa, Sachin Kindo, Ajit Mahato, Ajay Xalxo, Bibek Sahoo.
Sports Odisha (Women): Drupati Naik (Captain), Neharika Toppo (Vice-Captain), Janhabi Bada, Ahalya Lakra, Srutika Kullu, Payal Sonkar, Nirmala Senbar, Etee Naik, Ankita Gudia, Ajita Ekka, Anjulata Lugun, Sanjana Kujur, Liona Lakra, Eleena Burh, Saron Ekka, Priyanka Minz, Sabitri Ekka, Priyanka Baa.
Head Coach (Both Teams): BJ Kariappa
Team Manager (Both Teams): Debi Prasad Dash
Assistant Coach Sports Odisha (Men) Team: Praful Tirkey
Assistant Coach Sports Odisha (Women) Team: Sujit Lakra
Physiotherapist (Both Teams): Dr. Arjita Lenka
Strength and Conditioning Trainer (Both Teams): Sagayraj Peter
Speaking on the tournament Chairman, Odisha Hockey Promotion Council, Dilip Tirkey expressed happiness that a state hockey team is getting an opportunity to compete at the international level.
“Such instances were unheard of during his playing days, but it clearly shows the commitment of the Odisha government to develop the game and make sure that the future international stars of Indian hockey come from Odisha. It would be a great exposure trip for our players and a great preparatory tournament for the upcoming Hockey India National Championships in 2023,” he said.
Drupati Naik, Captain of the Sports Odisha (Women) team is very excited to be travelling outside the country for the first time and can’t wait to put on a good performance in Malaysia. She shared that her team has been preparing well for the tournament and they have had a very good camp for one month at Sports Hostel, Rourkela. Drupati is confident that the team will give their best and make the state proud.
Abhishek Kispotta, Captain of the Sports Odisha (Men) team who has dreams of playing for India expressed his excitement to be traveling to Malayasia and said he can’t wait to put on the Odisha jersey and show the world what Odia hockey players can do. He wants to return back to Odisha as the captain of a state hockey team that won a trophy at an international tournament.