After a spectacular performance at the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics, both the men's and women's hockey teams arrived in Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, on Tuesday morning.
Amid beats of dhol, traditional dance and cheers, the hockey teams were given a grand welcome at the Biju Patnaik International airport by the sponsoring state. After reaching the airport, the hockey players were driven to a hotel in the city under tight security.
"Welcome Back team India!! After spectacular performances by the @TheHockeyIndia teams in the #TokyoOlympics2020, they have been invited today with all hearts to #Bhubaneswar for the facilitation ceremony organised by the Government of Odisha," State sports minister Tusharkanti Behera said in a tweet.
To welcome the teams to Odisha, international sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik has created a sand art at Puri beach.
As per schedule, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will felicitate the teams this evening after having a photo session with the teams at Kalinga Stadium. The chief minister may also announce some cash rewards for the teams, official sources said.
At the Tokyo Olympics, the Indian men's hockey team won the bronze medal after a gap of 41 years while the women's team entered the semi-final.
As per its earlier announcement, the state government has given cash awards of Rs 2.5 crore along with DSP rank postings to Birendra Lakra and Amit Rohidas. Deep Grace Ekka and Namita Toppo, who were part of the Indian women's team, have been given Rs 50 lakh each. All four players belong to Odisha.