Bureaucrat V. Karthikeya Pandian, who was conferred with the FIH (International Hockey Federation) President’s Award at the FIH Congress on Sunday, has been a sports buff right from his school days.
“I feel really happy. I’ve always had a love for sports. It was our team that made it all possible. Actually the award will motivate me to contribute more to Indian sports,” said Pandian, who has been private secretary to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik since 2011, to The Hindu.
“The award I believe was due to the work we did for the men’s World Cup held in Bhubaneswar in 2018. Of course without the encouragement from our CM, the award would not have been possible.”
A university champion in 800m and 1500m, Pandian was born in Madurai and did his schooling at the Neyveli Sports Hostel. He then did his graduation (BSC) at the Agriculture College and Research Institute in Madurai and post graduation at the reputed Indian Agricultural Research Institute in Delhi before clearing the IAS examination.
Detailing Odisha’s contribution to sports, Pandian said it is the only State in the country that has a High Performance Centre for weightlifting, athletics, badminton, swimming and hockey, all with corporate sponsors.
A fitness freak, Pandian is up at 4 a.m. for his rigorous fitness regimen. “His discipline, hard work, clarity of vision and never-say-die attitude is pushing Odisha towards greater heights in the field of sports,” read a note from the Chief Minister’s Office.
Occupied with the impending cyclone and COVID-19 issues in the State, Pandian has his hands full now. “The situation is tough but we are doing our best,” he said.
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