ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India signs MoU with Government of Odisha to establish Kho Kho High Performance Centre

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Yet another partnership by the company to promote sports culture in Odisha

Bhubaneswar, November 9, 2023:In a significant stride towards nurturing Kho Kho talent in the state, in the presence of Shri Naveen Patnaik, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha, ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India (AM/NS India) todayinked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Odisha to establish a High-Performance Centre in Kho Kho. The aim is to transform Odisha into a premier Kho Kho excellence hub for India.

Chairman 5T and Nabin Odisha Shri V K Pandian was present during the MoU Ceremony. Shri Tusharkanti Behera, Minister for Sports and Youth Services and Shri R Vineel Krishna, Commissioner-cum- Secretary, Department of Sports and Youth Services,represented the Sports Department of Odisha, while AM/NS India was represented by Shri Keiji Kubota, Deputy Director, Human Resources and Administration,Smt Suparna Nanda, Head Corporate Affairs, Odisha, and Dr. Vikas Yadvendu, Head CSR.  

As per the agreement, the Government of Odisha will create and maintain the infrastructure of aKho Kho High Performance Centre (HPC), a facility to be housed in Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar while AM/NS India will operate and manage the HPC and train the Kho Khoplayers. It will also coach and develop judges for the sport along with their certifications.

The agreement is expected to give a major boostto Kho Kho, an ancient and one of the oldest forms of outdoor sport in Indiawhile giving its players prospects for exciting careers in it. It will help in identifying and nurturing amateur Kho Kho talents of Odisha into elite sports professionals.This initiative comes amid a resurgence of Kho Kho across South Asia and further afield, in countries such as England and South Africa.

AM/NS India will operate these activities under its CSR initiative ‘Udaan’, and every year will train 50 athletes under this ‘Elite Senior Kho Kho Programme’. The comprehensive program will offer training to the players and also technical and support manpower for operation of the project. Besides, athletes will gain exposure from participation in state and national level events and competitions. Academic, nutrition and physiotherapy support and skilling of coaches and trainers will contribute to the overall strengthening of the Kho Kho eco system in the country.

Shri Naveen Patnaik, Hon’ble Chief Minister, Government of Odisha, said, “Odisha is committed to developing sports in the state and it has been one of our key thrust areas. For the overall development of the children and youth of our state we have been relentlessly focusing on sports infrastructure development, hosting of national and international sporting events, and sponsoring sports persons. I am pleased to see Odisha and AM/NS India, once again coming together for the promotion of sports, especially an indigenous sport like Kho Kho which can attract rural talents. I look forward to another sports success story in Odisha through this association.”

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On the occasion, Shri Keiji Kubota, Deputy Director, HR and Administration, AM/NS India, said,“This MoU is yet another significant milestone in our commitmentto advance sporting excellence in Odisha and India. We are proud to have partnered with the Government of Odisha for several such sports initiatives. We are highly excited for promoting an ancient Indian sport like Kho Khoand are confident that the players of the HPC will take the sport to great heights, which it rightfully deserves”.

Demonstrating its commitment to promoting sports earlier, AM/NS India has collaborated with the Government of Odisha for various sports including Gymnastics, Kho Kho and Hockey. In 2022, AM/NS India partnered as the principal team sponsor of the State’s Kho Kho franchise ‘Odisha Juggernauts’, which clinched the title of the inaugural edition of Ultimate Kho Kho. Before that, AM/NS India was the Official Partner of the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021.

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More recently, in another groundbreaking initiative that has set the stage for a new era in Indian gymnastics and overall development of sports in our state, the ‘Odisha AM/NS India Gymnastics High-Performance Centre’ was inaugurated at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar by Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik on July 18, 2023. This joint initiative by the Government of Odisha and ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India (AM/NS India) aims to not only promote and grow the sport of gymnastics in India but also transform Odisha into a premier gymnastics excellence hub. The Centre’s impact has already been felt on multiple international stages. Gymnasts from the HPC have participated and won in various national and international competitions and have received widespread acclaim for their remarkable performances, showcasing the potential of such initiatives in producing top-tier athletes. This included prestigious forums like the 10th Senior Artistic Gymnastics Asian Championship in Singapore, Federation Internationale De Gymnastique (FIG) World Challenge Cup 2023 in Szombathely, Hungary, the Asian Games 2023 in Hangzhou, China and the 2023 National Games in Goa.

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