Bhawanipatna (Odisha): Vedanta Suratarangini Football Challenge Shield 2011, organized by Kalahandi District Athletic Association, started for the 47th time at Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium, Bhawanipatna on August 29, 2011 where 22 teams from across Kalahandi district will lock horns against each other to lift the Cup. The champion this time will play the pre-qualifiers of Kalinga Cup.
The Opening Day function was graced by ADM Kalahandi Mr. Ashok Nayak, Dr. Mukesh Kumar-President Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL), Lanjigarh and Mr. Sanjay Pattnaik-Vice president–VAL and other intellectuals of Kalahandi.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Mukesh Kumar, said, “Promoting sports culture around the district Vedanta’s one of the prime objectives towards making Kalahandi a developed zone in Orissa. Suratarangini Football Shield is doing excellent work in displaying young talents from across Kalahandi; and we are proud to promote young football players of Kalahandi.”
Suratarangini Football Challenge is the official competition from where Kalahandi district team is also being selected every year whereas VAL has been sponsoring the tournament since 2007-08. Going to a step ahead, the tournament has achieved a new feat this year as Jagabandhu Pattnaik, General Secretary of Kalahandi District Athletic Association, says “Champions will play in the pre qualifiers of the Kalinga Cup”.
The history of Suratarangini Football Challenge goes back to pre-independence era when the Kalahandi Kingdom used to organize the event. However, later, the dynasty handed over to the Kalahandi District Athletic Association to organize.
The final of the knock out tournament will be played on September 23 while a total of 22 teams are participating in the Championship this time.
The Opening Day also witnessed Kalahandi sporting sensation Jogabyasa Bhoi being awarded with the honour of Kalahandi Ratna. Jogabyasa recently conquered Mt. Everest.