Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan inaugurated the 91-year-old hockey tournament rechristened as Obaidullah Khan Heritage Cup Hockey Tournament on Monday at Major Dhyanchand stadium in Bhopal.
Chouhan also planted saplings on the stadium premises during the inaugural ceremony.
Addressing the audience at the inaugural ceremony, he said, “Bhopal was once considered to be a nursery of hockey. We want to re-establish the identity of the state capital as the nursery of hockey once again. There was a time when India used to bring back to back medals from the Olympics, playing hockey. We are working towards bringing back the golden age of hockey.”
Chouhan said that the nation has ample talent to fulfill the dream of making India a nation of hockey masters. They only need proper guidance and internal-standard resources to realize the dream, he said.
Chouhan revealed the trophy at the inaugural ceremony too with minister of sports Yashodhara Raje Scindia, who was presiding over the ceremony.
He met the players from all 12 teams that have come to take part in the championship from across the nation.
He said, “The state government will make sure that the players have all the resources they need to excel in their sport. The Obaidullah Khan Gold Cup that was established in 1931 faced hiccups in the past decade. But now that it has been re-launched, I am very happy and confident that it will match and cross the benchmark that the tournament had created for itself in previous decades.”
“The state capital has five under-construction astroturfs to provide proper ground to the players so that they can practice at a turf that they will have to play on at international tournaments. We will utilize the full potential of former players and Olympians and reestablish the city as a hockey hub,” he added.
Chouhan felicitated winners from several international tournaments at the inaugural ceremony of Obaidullah Khan Heritage Cup.
He feted silver medallist at EP event of Asian Fencing Championship (Uzbekistan) Pragya Singh and bronze medallist Aryan Sen, bronze medallist at Asian Youth Boxing Championship (Jordan) Aman Bisht and silver medallist Anand Yadav and gold medallist at 4.7 laser event of Asian Sailing Championship (Abu Dhabi) Ritika Dangi and bronze medallist Neha Thakur.
He also presented shuttler Gauranshi Sharma with a cheque of Rs 1 lakh for her selection for Deaflympics 2022 (Brazil) and tennis player Dhananjay Dubey with the same.