Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday hailed the "extraordinary" sporting potential of tribal youths and hoped they would bring laurels to the state and the country.
Inaugurating the first Tribal Sports Meet in the state, Patnaik said the objective of the event is to bring out the hidden potential among tribal youths.
"Their (tribal youths) sports potentials are extraordinary. They have been performing well in the sports like hockey, archery and athletics," the chief minister said, inaugurating the meet through video conferencing.
He pointed out that many from Odisha have become part of the Indian Hockey team and even become captains. "I hope that our tribals will bring pride for the state as well as for the country," Patnaik, who also unveiled the logo for the event, said.
There are 62 tribes in Odisha and all of them inherit sports qualities through their traditional culture, said SC/ST Development Minister Ramesh Chandra Majhi.
The sports meet is being organised across 119 tribal-dominated blocks along with the 30 districts of the state. The upper age limit for participants in the event is 35 years, he said.
Besides individual games like archery and athletics, teams can also participate in football, hockey, kabaddi, khoko and volley ball.
The prize money of Rs 3,61,200 will be distributed among the winners in each district, he said, adding, a total of Rs 1,08,36,000 cash prize will be given to winners in all the 30 districts.
The Tribal Sports Meet is being held in the under-14, under-16 and over-17 categories, sports department sources said.