No one can deny the importance and influence of sports in the development of an individual, state, nation and society. The countries that have given priority to sports besides academic pursuits have achieved wonders in th league of sports, even if they are not economically much advanced. Many less developed countries have made sports a priority, and investment in sports has yielded phenomenal results. India’s name in global sports arena, though growing, has been very limited when compared to its huge population. Our tally of medals can be considered just a namesake representation.
To my happiness, our Hon’ble Chief Minister, Shri Naveen Patnaik has given utmost priority to development of sports, sportspersons and sports infrastructure. He has single-handedly spearheaded Odisha’s transformation to Sports Hub of India. The whole world has turned their eyeballs to Odisha for his prowess. It surely was not an easy decision for him to divert resources of an underdeveloped state to sports. But his passion and political will to make the entire sports apparatus work is an eye opener.
You all know that due to paucity of means, I never got any opportunity to play. I was so neck deep immersed in making two ends meet that I have not played or watch any sport in my growing years. My deprivation did not stop me for walking an extra mile for those who were willing to play sports but did not have opportunities. The deprivation in my life taught me a lesson – work for those who lack opportunities because given a chance, any one can succeed with will power.
Very early in the life of KIIT and KISS, in 1999, I brought all means together to set up an indoor stadium and named it Biju Patnaik Indoor Stadium. At that time people laughed at me, criticized me for setting up such a huge stadium. I was told that I could divert these resources into making of huge infrastructure and buildings of KIIT and KISS which were in informative years. Now, people realise the importance of building sports infrastructure of the scale that we have made by the grace of god. At that time I did not have any vision, but somehow it became a visionary step of investment in sports with you translate into investment in youth.
In this context, I would like to cite an example that states that sports not only promotes integrity and development of an individual but also promotes tourism at the scale which is unparalleled. When the players come to the venue, they take many parts of everything beyond the game in their hearts. 20,000 students and sports personnel are present from the month of December and will continue till January. It is a massive boost to the tourism industry and tourism of Odisha. I am certain that they will carry a part of Odisha back with them. It is very difficult to capture the youth of the country and bring them to a particular place but such kind of sports activities attract them easily. It is a subtle way of promoting and leveraging tourism.
To sum up, it is all possible because we invested in Sports. Without basking on the glory of past, our team is constantly and dedicatedly working to send 10 students in different for 2024 Olympics. Now, the world recognises the silent contribution of Odisha in the field of Sports in India, similarly, KIIT and KISS as universities, will be known at the background to rich indian sporting history. Our vision is to provide maximum sporting facilities at schools & colleges as most of the young mass are available in academic institutions. If every University like KIIT & KISS stand as a rock behind their sportspersons, we can double-down on the gains we are already seeing, by providing right direction to the fire in our belly.