**Bhubaneswar: ** Inaugurating the 2-day-long ‘Ekamra International Sports Literature Festival’ being hosted as a precursor to Hockey World Cup here, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik opined that sports can be a life changing experience and can change our outlook towards life.
In his keynote address, the Odisha Chief Minister said, “I am delighted to be here today to join all of you at this star studded event of Ekamra Sports Literary Festival. Eminent Sports persons, Coaches and Sports writers from across the globe are here to support the cause of Sports. Your presence has created the much needed euphoria for the upcoming Men’s World Cup Hockey. I welcome all of you to Odisha.”
“Hosting the Men’s Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar is a certainly a glory for us. For several decades now, Odisha has been the cradle of hockey with many of top Indian players from Odisha donning the national colours. As a State, we wanted to take our commitment towards the sport to another level by putting a spectacular show, which would eventually see hockey lovers from across the globe return back home with alluring memories from the event here. Our aim is to give the audience the best in terms of experience and comfort of watching the matches live. I hope that all the 16 participating teams will showcase the spirit of sportsmanship in their endeavour,” he added.
He further said, “While the greatest spectacle in the world of Hockey is coming to Bhubaneswar; it’s natural that there will be a lot of writing on the event as well. We welcome the finest minds in the world of sports to write, discuss and reveal their stories on sports, and make people engaged to, not alone Hockey, but to the entire realm of sports and games.”
“Sports literature can create a special kind of aura of sports in the minds of people. The games and their impact, the players and their struggles, victories and rejoices, failures and disappointment, and if possible, the story behind each story– Sports literature can truly captivate and bring our generation under the impression of sports. Sports can be a life changing experience. In fact, it can change our outlook towards life,” the Chief Minister observed.
Concluding his speech, he stated, “I am sure this two-day Sports Literary Festival will bring together eminent persons in the field of sports and sports lovers together and pay an outstanding tribute to the upcoming epic event. I wish the festival all success.”
The Chief Minister also unveiled the covers of a Ready Reckoner on Hockey World Cups and a sports magazine “Hockey Bites”.
Odisha Sports & Youth Services Minister Chandra Sarathi Behera said, “Ekamra Sports Literary Festival 2018 marks a new chapter in the history of Odisha during its period of progression towards being the Sports hub of the country. It is wonderful that such a prestigious event will be held as a run up to the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 as a joint initiative of the Sports Department with Emerging Sports.”
“‘Ekamra’, the ancient name of our capital city Bhubaneswar is reminiscent of our rich culture, tradition and heritage and reflects the glory which will emanate from this mega international event. I thank the entire team for thinking of such a grand initiative and convey my best wishes for its success,” stated the Sports Minister.
Odisha Sports Secretary Vishal Kumar Dev said, “A warm welcome to everybody who have come from outside Odisha and and from outside India. I’m sure they’ll have a very pleasant stay. Our State is beautiful. Our city happens to be the second planned city in the country. We have a great culture and heritage going back 3000 years. So I hope you all enjoy that and I hope the deliberations in this literary fest are fruitful and meaningful. Wish you all the very best.”
Emerging Sports Founder Director and eminent Sports journalist Sundeep Mishra said, “The Sports Literary Festival phenomenon is a fairly recent one, but one whose time could have come much earlier. I have always dreamt of bringing together the finest minds in the world of sport and writing to Bhubaneswar to discuss their work, share their vision, hear diverse voices in a conducive and contemplative environment. And presently, I cannot think of any other city in India that combines the spirit of sportsmanship with the humanness of Odisha.”
Notably, Odisha’s capital city Bhubaneswar is hosting Asia’s first ever “Ekamra International Sports Literary Festival”. The two-day mega event (November 2 and 3) is Asia’s largest and most prestigious sports literature festival.
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