The accolades have been pouring in from all over the country. And why not? After all, before Odisha did it, no one else had thought that a state government could sponsor a national sporting team. When the Naveen Patnaik government stepped in to sponsor the Indian hockey team for the next five years after former sponsor Sahara backed out in 2018, it was justifiably hailed for thinking out of box and doing something that had been the preserve of corporate entities.
After the Indian men’s team won the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics—the first podium finish in 41 years—captain Manpreet Singh was effusive in his praise for the Odisha chief minister. “This dream won’t be possible without the encouragement & vision of Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha Shri Naveen Patnaik ji, who has been supporting us throughout this journey…,” Manpreet tweeted.