The people of Rourkela are all set to be enthralled as the FIH World Cup comes to their city. The city now boasts of a Games Village where athletes will be accommodated in approximately 225 rooms for the marquee event.
“We are ready and [for the purposes of] accommodation we have built a village. We are so happy and proud to host the World Cup. It’s a pride of India and Odisha and we have got all bases covered. From a dedicated hockey practice arena to catering to every need of a professional athlete, the Khel Gaun is equipped with all the facilities,” a senior official from the Odisha government told Sportstar.
“The gym with latest equipment is in place along with the hydrotherapy and swimming pool, and we have all the dedicated resources to host the World Cup. Both Kalinga Stadium and the Birsa Munda are well equipped and there won’t be any lapses in conducting the World Cup,” the official said.
India will be playing its first match against Spain in Rourkela on January 13. The official stated that the Rourkela aerodrome strip has been tested and is ready to ferry players from Bhubaneswar.
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Sportstar reported earlier that the Rourkela airstrip was 2B category but it can now confirm that it has been elevated to the 2C category, which means passenger planes can lift off and touch down with ease.
“The airstrip has been tested and it is ready to fly in and out charter planes. We are in regular touch with the concerned departments and all necessary steps are being taken for the smooth conduct of the tournament,” the official stated.
For R. K. Saini, the hockey coach of SAIL Rourkela, it’s a dream come true. “From Lazarus Barla to Dilip Tirkey, we have come a long way. Odisha has always produced players of national quality and to host a World Cup is a dream come true,” Saini said.
WATCH: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurates the games village.
“The Games village is fantastic and has got all the amenities. From playing on the grass and then watching players showing their skills on astro-turf, we have come a long way. I, in my lifetime, dreamt that India will be hosting a Hockey World Cup. It’s here and as a former player and coach, I am grateful that the State government has invited me to be a part of the opening ceremony. The love for hockey has always been there and it’s a festive evening with Rourkela hosting the World Championships.”