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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 28:

Three former homegrown Olympians today approached Odisha Sports Development and Promotion Company (OSDPC) for alleged disrespect to them as they have not been invited to watch matches of fifth edition of ongoing Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) series here at Kalinga Stadium.

Lazarus Barla, William Xalxo and Prabodh Tirkey today registered their discontent with the OSDPC, a company jointly formed by Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) and Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL).

The hockey players who represented India at international events alleged that they were even not provided with passes to watch the hockey matches.

“The organisers haven’t shown minimum courtesy neither to issues passes or to invite us for which we have come to register our grievances with them. This is an unfortunate incident that we are facing such thing. It feels as if hockey players from Odisha have no contribution towards the sport,” Lazarus Barla said.

The trio has travelled widely to participate in Olympics, Asia Cup, Sultan Azlan Shah, Champions Trophy and other prestigious events across the globe.

“In the earlier editions of HIL, the organisers used to provide us passes. But, they haven’t given us passes this year,” William Xalxo expressed.

The former captain of Indian hockey team Prabodh Tirkey also echoed similar emotions as expressed by his senior Lazarus.

“I completely agree with Lazarus Bhai that we haven’t been provided passes to watch matches. This is an unfortunate incident. We are buying tickets to watch matches. They should not repeat such mistake in future,” Prabodh Tirkey stated.

“The prides of Odisha are being sidelined. The Olympians are not getting their due respect in our state as accorded in other states. It is shameful that we have to approach higher authorities for passes,” Debasish Gouda, Hockey Gangpur-Odisha General Secretary said.

However, a senior official of OSDPC said that several Olympians from the state have been issued passes.

“We had called up Olympians to collect passes. Olympians including Dutee Chand, Anuradha Biswal and William Xalxo have collected their passes. However, Lazarus Barla said that he didn’t receive his tickets. We would take appropriate steps so that they get passes and car passes in future,” said Sushanta Das, Executive Director, OSDPC.