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Champions trophy in Odisha is best birthday gift s (11/25/2014)
--Tazeen Qureshy
Champions trophy being held in Odisha is best birthday gift says Dilip

For years, former India skipper Dilip Tirkey has stood like a wall in the field, guarding furious attacks of the opposition teams. As he celebrates his birthday today (November 25), the Member of Parliament from Rajya Sabha feels that his state Odisha, hosting the much-awaited Champions trophy scheduled from early next month is the best ever birthday gift he could have asked for.

“This is the first time that the Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneswar will be hosting an international tournament. To be able to witness all the major hockey playing nations in the world contest in my hometown is the best birthday gift I could have asked for,” says Dilip, who is currently in Delhi to attend the Parliament session.

undefined “Odisha has a pool of talented hockey players, many of whom have represented the country at international level. It is a proud moment not just for me as a former player but for the entire state.”

Dilip, who had made his debut way back in 1995, had been vouching for a stadium to be constructed in Bhubaneswar for long, but was successful only recently after the government gave clearance and the turf in Bhubaneswar was constructed just before the 2014 edition of the Hockey India League.

Modest as he has always been, Dilip, however, brushes off taking any credit for the same.

“I should not be credited for anything. It’s the people and the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s initiative. Though the turf came after a long wait, I am happy that it finally is ready.”

However, there is a slight disappointment, as the player regrets for not being able to play an international match in front of his home crowd in the 15 years of his career. “I had always dreamt of playing in front of my home crowd. Sadly, it never happened. Yes, there is disappointment and it will remain for the rest of my life,” he says.

For the India hockey team playing in the Champions Trophy, Dilip has pinned high hopes.

“After the Asian Games gold medal and the recent series win against Australia, the expectations are high. I hope that India makes it at least to the semi-finals,” he concludes.

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