India last won the hockey World Cup in 1975. With Odisha as its main sponsor, the Indian team is hoping to build on its bronze victory at the 2021 Tokyo Games to clinch the world title this year. If India wins the Hockey World Cup, the Odisha government will reward each player with Rs 1 crore in cash, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said Thursday, in a bid to raise the team’s competitive spirit as the international tournament begins in the state on January 13.
India last won the hockey World Cup in 1975. With Odisha as its main sponsor, the Indian team is hoping to build on its bronze victory at the 2021 Tokyo Games to clinch the world title this year.
For the state, this World Cup will be its second consecutive one for which it recently built the sprawling, saucer-shaped Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium at Rourkela in Sundargarh district.
Built in 15 months and billed as India’s largest with a seating capacity of 21,000, the Birsa Munda hockey stadium will be one of the two World Cup venues. The other will be the Kalinga Stadium in state capital Bhubaneswar.
Inaugurating the Birsa Munda stadium Thursday, Patnaik called it “a time to rejoice, a day of pride and glory for Sundargarh, especially its sports-loving youths”.
“The world’s largest hockey stadium is standing tall here in Sundargarh, the cradle of hockey, speaking volumes on the glory of this land,” the CM said, invoking the blessings of Lord Jagannath and also thanking people for their support.
Calling the stadium in Odisha’s crown, Patnaik said it reflected “our irrepressible desire to be the best in the world”. “For times to come,” he said, “this stadium will represent the love and the connect we Indians have for hockey…It (Odisha) is, and it will be, the home of Indian Hockey.”
Built with around 3,600 tonnes of structural steel and 4,000 tonnes of TMT steel, the Birsa Munda stadium cost a whopping 500 crore, a major part of which was funded by the Sundargarh district mineral foundation (DMF). The chief minister’s office, in a statement, said total Rs 261 crore (excluding tax) was spent to build the stadium.
Continuing his praise, Patnaik said the stadium “magnified the prestige and magnificence of Rourkela and Sundargarh across the globe” and has also made the image of Odisha “brighter” by reflecting its capacity to develop international sports infrastructure. Inside the stadium complex in Rourkela, Patnaik also inaugurated the World Cup Village, which has 225 4-star category rooms to house the teams and officials during the World Cup which will continue till January 29.