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Hockey Fever Grips State

Bhubaneswar: The entire State is gripped under hockey fever as the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup, 2023 trophy has toured all most all district of Odisha and many foreign teams have started arriving in the two cities and also doing practices in the stadiums for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup, 2023.  

To create a buzz and awareness among people especially students about hockey, the World Cup trophy is being toured to different districts across the State.

The Men’s Hockey Teams from Malaysia, South Africa, Argentina, and New Zealand touched down at the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar on Friday afternoon for the World Cup. Earlier, Netherlands, Chile, Belgium and England have already arrived in the State for the mega sporting event.  

The Malaysian Men’s Hockey Team, who walked out to a round of applause from local fans, are placed in Pool C with the Netherlands, New Zealand and Chile, and will be keen to make an impact at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela. 

“We are very excited for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela. I hope we can make this a special tournament for our team and country by playing our best game. Our preparations have been good, I hope we can replicate that in the matches and compete with the best teams,” said Captain Marhan Jalil. 

Coached by Arul Anthoni, the Malaysian side, who won the 2022 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, had their best performance in the Men’s Hockey World Cup in 1975 when they hosted the tournament and finished fourth. It was also the year when the Indian Men’s Hockey Team won the Gold medal. 

“We need to make a good start to the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela. The tournament will not be easy, all 16 nations are top teams and playing against the Netherlands will give us a good idea of where we stand before we take on Chile and New Zealand. We won the 2022 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, and the team is confident of putting on a good show,” said Head Coach Arul Anthoni. 

On the other hand, the State Administration is also not losing anything to make the event memorable for the players and also people of Odisha for forever.

The walls and flyovers in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela have been painted with murals of hockey players, freedom fighters and other eminent personalities of Odisha and as a precursor to the World Cup.

In the capital Bhubaneswar, the entire city has been decked up and parallel events – including musical concerts, fan village and storytelling sessions – are being organised at the Kalinga stadium and across the city.

Similarly, a project called STAMP (Street Art and Mural Project) with seven artists of national and international repute has been launched to create artwork at major junctions in Bhubaneswar.

In Cuttack’s Barabati Stadium, which is a venue for international cricket tournaments, a celebration is slated for January 11.

However, for Rourkela, which comes under the Sundergarh district, known as the nursery of hockey in Odisha, this is the first brush with an international tournament of such stature. The entire Rourkela town has been decked up with lights and beautification projects, which will last in the mind of the players forever.  

A ‘Sports Carnival’ has been launched in Rourkela to create a sporting atmosphere in the city. Commercial flight operations will begin from Rourkela from tomorrow to transport players and officials to the venue.

Several cultural and sporting events are lined up in five corporation cities of Odisha Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Sambalpur, Rourkela and Berhampur. The entire State will witness a festive moment during the entire month of January.