Walking the Talk – ‘Sports for Youth and Youth for Future’

Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup 2021, Odisha’s Hockey Chronicles Continue

Bhubaneswar: Adding yet another feather to its cap of achievements of successfully hosting international sporting events, Odisha has once again proved itself as the sporting capital of India as it looks forward to host the FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup 2021.

The world body for Hockey, International Hockey Federation or the FIH has decided that Odisha will host the prestigious event from November 24th to December 5th 2021. Though the decision was taken in the last minute, Odisha has confidently agreed to host the tournament as it has all the necessary infrastructure and facilities ready. Its experience of successfully hosting the Hockey World Cup and the Asian Athletic championships among others have helped it to once again grab the opportunity to host the junior tournament. Above all, it strengthens the fact that Odisha’s rendezvous with Hockey, and in fact other sports and games, is not going to halt anytime soon. It has become the epicenter for sporting events of the country.

Starting from the Hockey India League and Hockey Champions Trophy of 2014, to Asian Athletics Championships of 2017 and Men’s Hockey World Cup 2018, Odisha has played host to all major international sporting events organized in India.

Through 2018 Hockey World Cup held in Odisha, the world witnessed the emergence of Odisha as a major sporting destination with all necessary infrastructure and facilities and above all the will power of the government to host such big ticket events. The biggest event in the history of Hockey, the Men’s World Cup is again going to be hosted by Odisha at Bhubaneswar and Rourkela.

Today’s development is not a single separate occasion for the state. It is the culmination of the efforts, willpower and ability of the State Government and its team of officials that ensured that Odisha remains ahead of others in attracting world class events. In the last one decade, Odisha’s thrust was on improving sports infrastructure in the State capital Bhubaneswar and other cities such as Cuttack and Rourkela. It created a world class infrastructure at the Kalinga Stadium Sports Complex which has India’s first Olympic standard Pink and Blue Astro Turfs for Hockey. Bhubaneswar also has the maximum number of High Performance centers that are training budding sportspersons. It has provided considerable amount of money for the development of Hockey infrastructure in Odisha. Today, Odisha has the best Hockey turf in India.

While the State Government had spent more than Rs 100 Crore for sports infrastructure including hockey in the last few years, it has committed to pump in more funds for the same in the coming days. While announcing the decision to host the 2023 Hockey World Cup in Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen also said that the State will also put up 17 more Astro turfs in the State – the best a State can do for the game.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s keenness for development of sports and games in the State can be seen in the many decisions he took such as building the largest Hockey stadium of the country at Rourkela and sponsoring the National Hockey teams for record ten years. Naveen’s efforts in supporting the games particularly Hockey has paid off well. India’s performance in the recently concluded Olympics is a testimony to Odisha efforts. Without Odisha’s support, the teams might not have played their best.

Though the Junior Hockey World Cup comes at a difficult time when nations face the hit of pandemic, Odisha is determined to make it a huge success. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, while announcing the decision to host the tournament said, “the State is ready to host such a big event for the sake of country’s prestige.

He said, “Recently, Hockey India approached us to support them for the Men’s Junior World Cup which is to be held in two months’ time. It’s a short notice for making the arrangements for such an event, especially during the pandemic period. Since the nation’s prestige is at stake, we have readily agreed to support.”

He also said, “Over the last decade, we have been working closely with Hockey India for the development of Hockey in the country. We have sponsored the National teams since 2018. We have been the host for major tournaments including the Hockey World Cup. All these efforts have led to the historic success of the Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams at the recent Tokyo Olympics.”

Narinder Batra, President of the FIH said during the announcement that “Odisha has set a new benchmark for Hockey and showcased Odisha’s capability in organising global sports events. He added that the iconic Kalinga Stadium is now the World’s best stadium.

Odisha’s achievements have brought great joy to the people across the country. It was declared that the glory of Indian Hockey is back when the men’s and women’s teams played their best during the last Olympics. There is lot of excitement about the prospects of Indian hockey in coming years. The Hockey World Cup in January 2023 will be the landmark event and provide further momentum for the development of hockey in India.

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