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Hockey World Cup Prep On Track

Bhubaneswar: The State Government has made more than the necessary arrangements for the hosting the prestigious FIH (International Hockey Federation) Men’s Hockey World Cup, 2023. The World Cup will be organised from January 13 to 29 next year in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela.

In 2018, the World Cup was organised only in Kalinga Hockey Stadium. However, Bhubaneswar will not be the only site for the next World Cup as Rourkela’s brand-new Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium will share hosting duties with Bhubaneswar.

Recently, the State has enhanced the funding for development sports infrastructures at Kalinga Stadium and Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium from Rs. 432.45 crore to Rs. 875.78 crores, to create better infrastructure eying to the World Cup.  

The State Government, which is sponsoring the national hockey teams since 2018, has taken a slew of initiatives to ensure that the marquee event is even bigger and better than its previous edition.

Senior Officers of State Government starting from Chief Secretary SC Mahapatra to Sports Secretary R Vineel Krishna and Commissioners of Bhubaneswar and Rourkela are engaged in the hectic exercise to give a pleasant experience to the hockey players, sports lovers, and other guests during the World Cup.

Secretary to CM VK Pandian is extending all out support for this Global Event, official admit.

While 16 teams will participate in the prestigious world tournament, 24 matches will be played in Bhubaneswar and another 20 in Rourkela. The astroturf and floodlight facilities in both Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar and Birsa Munda Stadium have been completed, officials said.

To make the tournament memorable for both the participating teams and also common citizens, the State Government has lined up several mega sporting and cultural events across the State including the hosting cities of Bhubaneswar and Rourkela.

The state government has decided to organise mega cultural festivals, sporting events and other activities in five municipal corporations of Bhubaneswar, Rourkela, Cuttack, Sambalpur, and Berhampur during the period.

The Hockey World Cup Trophy will be exhibited in all districts in the State and will also be toured to different parts of the country. Various programmes to promote hockey will be organised at district-level with participation of school and college students, the officials said.

A completely new look is being given to the host cities of Bhubaneswar and Rourkela. The two municipal corporations have taken a slew of beautification projects like revamp of roads, plantation, painting & art on road-side walls, illumination of all major buildings and squares, cleanness drive, removal of hoardings, improvement of medians and barricading.

Mo Bus services will be strengthened by adding more buses in Bhubaneswar during the period, while the Mo Bus will be launched in Odisha’s Rourkela city. The Mo Bus services will be started in the steel city with the introduction of a fleet of 100 buses initially.

Special buses will also ply during the World Cup phase to make it easy for players, officials and spectators to have a smooth experience. Special attractions are being curated by the Tourism Department to make a lasting impression on the visitors and fans.

The steel city of Rourkela is hosting a Sports Carnival to celebrate the Hockey World Cup. Rourkela Municipal Corporation (RMC) Commissioner Subhankar Mohapatra said knock-out hockey, Kho-Kho, Volleyball, Football, and Kabaddi tournaments for both male and female players will be held in the city between December 5 and December 23.

The State Government is also making an all-out effort to start regular flight services from Rourkela airport. The Government will hire charter flights for transportation of players and hockey officials between Bhubaneswar and Rourkela. 

It will be the first time a country has hosted the World Cup for two consecutive seasons when the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup takes place in 2023. The 2023 edition of the Hockey World Cup has stirred the emotions and enthusiasm of fans and players and people are eagerly looking forward to January when Odisha will once again welcome the top teams from across the world and demonstrate why it has evolved to become a global hub of hockey.