The stage is set for the men’s hockey World Cup, 2023. It is the fourth time the World Cup is being held in India – after 1982, 2010 and 2018.
Odisha, the host, is leaving no stone unturned in its quest to make the event a huge success. The State hosted the previous edition of the World Cup, too, four years ago. As the countdown begins, Sportstar brings to you an overview of the arrangements in place.
Last time, matches were held in just one venue – the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. But this time, the Birsa Munda International Stadium in Rourkela (Sundergarh district) will also host a few matches.
“When it was decided that Odisha will host the World Cup, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik insisted we have one leg in Rourkela. Sundergarh is the cradle of hockey, and it is said children there learn to walk holding hockey sticks. [World Cup matches are being held there] as a tribute to the people of the region and their love for hockey,” V. K. Pandian, secretary to the Chief Minister, said on Instagram live.
The Birsa Munda International Stadium is being hailed as the largest hockey stadium in the country, with a seating capacity of 20,000. Out of the 44 matches to be played in the World Cup, 20 matches will be held in Rourkela. India will play two group-stage matches here – against Spain and England.
The Kalinga Stadium, on the other hand, has already hosted several tournaments of repute. It has a seating capacity of 16,000. The cross-overs, quarterfinals, semifinals and the final will be held here.
The four pitches to be used in these stadia have already obtained the appropriate certification from the FIH.
The matches involving the Indian team in Rourkela were sold out the day the sales began. Tickets for the other matches there are also not available for purchase any more.
The India-vs-Wales match to be held at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar is also sold out. However, fans can still purchase tickets for matches of other teams in the capital city – including the first match, between Argentina and South Africa on January 13.
There won’t be an official opening ceremony this time. To launch the event, a hockey ‘celebration’ has been planned in Cuttack on January 11.
The ceremony will involve performances by actors Ranveer Singh, Disha Patani and music composer Pritam, who has also composed the World Cup anthem. A host of vocalists – including Benny Dayal, Neeti Mohan, Sreerama Chandra, Nakash Aziz, and Shalmali Kholgade – will sing.
K-pop band Blackswan, which also features Sriya Lenka from Odisha, will enthrall the audience, while there will also be performances from local stars of Odisha to highlight the State’s culture and heritage.
Storytelling sessions and food festivals
The World Cup won’t be limited to the action on the field. Tourists, fans and locals will also be treated to storytelling sessions, food festivals, night bazaar, heritage trails, and more.
The ‘Dot Fest’ will coincide with the World Cup – January 13 to 29. Storytelling session ‘BhuFesto’ will run from January 14 to 17 in four locations of Bhubaneswar. A special sports theme has been planned for one of the sessions.
Both Bhubaneswar and Rourkela are getting a major facelift. City walls are being painted with murals, and hockey-themed sculptures have been made and placed at major cross-sections of the cities.
Village panchayats have been asked to install LED television sets and place flex prints of the tournament so the local people are aware and can watch the matches live.
A trophy tour is currently underway in the State. After touring 13 States and a union territory, the trophy is back in Odisha and is travelling to all its districts. It will conclude in Sundergarh on January 12, a day before the start of the tournament.
‘Fan zones’ inside the stadia will allow for opportunities for fans to meet and greet their favourite players.
|Matches in Rourkela||20|
|Matches in Bhubaneswar||24|
|Venues||2 (Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar and Birsa Munda Stadium, Rourkela)|
|Total FIH certified pitches||4 (across two venues)|
|Budget||₹1098 crore (approx.)|
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