Former India hockey captain and Rajya Sabha MP Dilip Tirkey is going to organize one of the biggest rural hockey tournaments ‘Biju Patnaik Rural Hockey Championship’ in Rourkela from Saturday.
More than 1300 teams and 25000 players from the rural areas of Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand will participate in this event which will make it one the biggest sports tournament in the entire world, said Tirkey.
The organisers said they would request the Limca Book of Records and Guinness World Records to register the event as it would for the first time that so many teams are taking part in a tournament.
“Around 400 teams from Jharkhand and 100 teams from Chhattisgarh will take part in the tournament. Other teams to take part will be from Sundargarh, Deogarh and Sambalpur. The tournament will help players from rural areas to take their game to the next level. More than 25,000 players will take part the inaugural ceremony,” said Tirkey.
The championship shall begin from December 10 and continue till March next year. It will be played at 32 venues – including two venues in Jharkhand and one in Chhattisgarh, while Sundargarh will have 27 venues.
Winners and runners-up at each venue will take part in the main event, which will feature 64 teams. The final will be played at the Biju Patnaik Hockey Stadium in Rourkela. The championship will have Rs 30 lakh as prize money, which includes Rs 3 lakh for the winner, Rs 2 lakh for the runners-up and Rs 1 lakh for each of the semi-finalists.
Sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik and former Indian hockey team captain Ignace Tirkey will be the brand ambassadors of the tourney.
“It is a honour to be the brand ambassador. The tournament will definitely help promote the sport in the state. I will make a sand sculpture of a hockey stick with a length of 200ft to promote the championship,” said Sudarshan Patnaik.