How Naveen Patnaik gave Odisha, hockey a push

A number of initiatives were also taken by youngsters on an individual level to promote the sport

By Anwesha Ambaly in Bhubaneswar
  • Published 29.11.18, 12:31 AM
  • Updated 29.11.18, 9:06 AM
  • a min read
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The Naveen Patnaik government launched the “Heartbeats for hockey” movement to reach out to sports lovers. Picture: Ashwinee Pati

The Naveen Patnaik government took up a number of campaigns ahead of the hockey World Cup to promote the game and state worldwide.

Odisha Tourism had kick-started marketing activities in July when it unveiled the “Odisha by morning, hockey by evening” campaign in London during the Women’s Hockey World Cup. Thereafter, the campaign was promoted at various tourism events across the country and the world. The promotion was also the highlight during the India Tourism Mart held in New Delhi in September. Odisha Tourism had engaged with buyers and discussed upcoming facilities and possibilities in the field of adventure tourism and other niche products.

“The aim was to come up with a campaign that combines the excitement of the World Cup with that of discovering tourism attractions of Odisha,” said tourism secretary Vishal Dev.

Thereafter, the state government had launched the “Heartbeats for hockey” movement to reach out to sports lovers. The campaign asked sports lovers to pledge a heartbeat for hockey in a bid to lend support to the sport.

The collected heartbeats, pledged both digitally and on-ground, was presented to the hockey captains at the cup’s opening ceremony. According to sources, till date around 2 crore heartbeats have been collected.

The campaign got a kick with superstar Shah Rukh Khan joining the movement. Apart from him, people from various sectors have pledged support for the sport.

Brand strategist Nupur Mahajan, who the architect behind the marketing campaign for the World Cup, says: “The idea was to make the sport as popular as football or cricket. We wanted to reach out to people through various means, including social networking sites, music, art and various other forms. By the end of the World Cup, hockey should be on the minds of everyone.”

A number of initiatives were also taken by youngsters on an individual level to promote the sport. Volunteers of Biju Yuva Vahini also launched a plantation drive, pledging for a “Green Hockey World Cup”. As part of the drive, chief minister Naveen Patnaik planted the first sapling at Kalinga Stadium recently. Almost 2.5lakh volunteers have joined hands to plant 30lakh saplings across Odisha.