Bhubaneswar: ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India (AM/NS India), a collaborative venture between ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel, globally renowned steel manufacturers, has formally entered into a partnership with the Odisha Sports Development and Promotion Company (OSDPC), a state government entity. This collaboration designates AM/NS India as the Principal Team Sponsor for the Odisha Juggernauts, the state’s Kho Kho franchise, in the upcoming second edition of the Ultimate Kho Kho League.
In a notable development, AM/NS India previously served as the principal team sponsor during the inaugural edition of the Ultimate Kho Kho League in 2022, where the Odisha Juggernauts emerged victorious. The extension of this sponsorship underscores AM/NS India’s confidence in the team and aligns with the company’s ongoing commitment to fostering sporting excellence in Odisha and across India.
The defending champions, Odisha Juggernauts, are set to compete in the national tournament scheduled to commence on December 24, 2023, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Cuttack. The agreement formalizing the sponsorship was signed by Mr. Keiji Kubota, Deputy Director, HR & Administration, AM/NS India, and Mr. Ranjit Parida, Joint Secretary, Department of Sports, Government of Odisha, and Director of OSDPC.
Ultimate Kho Kho, India’s inaugural professional Kho Kho League launched in 2022, aims to modernize and popularize this ancient outdoor sport. The league not only seeks to promote Kho Kho as a traditional sport but also provides a platform for its top players to pursue professional careers. This initiative comes amid a resurgence of Kho Kho’s popularity across South Asia, as well as in countries like England and South Africa.
As part of this collaboration, Odisha will establish and maintain a Kho Kho High-Performance Centre (HPC) at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. AM/NS India will take charge of operating and managing the HPC, overseeing the training of Kho Kho players, and facilitating the coaching and development of certified judges for the sport.
Mr. R Vineel Krishna, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Sports and Youth Services Department, Government of Odisha, and Chairman OSDPC, expressed satisfaction with AM/NS India’s continued support, especially after the Odisha Juggernauts’ triumphant performance in the first edition. Mr. Keiji Kubota of AM/NS India emphasized the company’s belief in the transformative power of sports and highlighted their pride in supporting various sporting initiatives in collaboration with the Odisha government.
Noteworthy is AM/NS India’s broader involvement in promoting sports, including partnerships with the Government of Odisha in hockey and gymnastics. The establishment of the ‘Odisha AM/NS India Gymnastics High-Performance Centre’ at Kalinga Stadium underscores their commitment to developing sports excellence in the state, with notable successes already achieved on the international stage. This collaborative effort aims to not only elevate the status of gymnastics in India but also position Odisha as a premier hub for gymnastics excellence.