The Indian hockey team will kickstart their FIH Hockey World Cup 2023 campaign against Spain on Friday in their Pool D match. The blue sticks under the leadership of Harmanpreet Singh are eyeing India’s first World Cup trophy after 48 long years following India’s podium finish in Tokyo Olympics in 2021 followed by a silver medal in Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham.
“The way our players bagged an Olympic medal after 41 years in the same way we have full expectation that this World Cup will not only be well organized but Indian hockey players and hockey team after so many years will finish on the podium and do well,” said Hockey India secretary general Bhola Nath Singh while speaking to ANI.
Bhubaneswar and Rourkela are the host cities of the World Cup. The atmosphere in the host city Rourkela is electric, abuzz with activity and brimming with spirit as teams finalize their preparations for the tournament. The first match of the World Cup will be played between Argentina and South Africa in Bhubaneswar.
The Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium is a testament to the efforts of Hockey India and the Odisha government. The stadium was built in a record time of 15 months. The stadium’s total capacity is 20,000 making it the largest all-seater hockey stadium in the world.
The stadium also features a “World Cup Village”, complete with over 225 rooms and star facilities serviced by Taj. The walls of Rourkela have been adorned with stunning murals and nestled across the venues are hockey-inspired sculptures that encapsulate the robust culture of hockey in Odisha. There are several fan parks that have been commissioned across the city.
“Hockey India is full of energy. Hockey India, the Government of Odisha and the Government of India put together have prepared for it well. We have done everything from our end to make this World Cup successful and this is going to be the best World Cup so far organized I feel in future if a World Cup is as well organized as this will happen then it will happen in India only. We have prepared for it from all points of view. It is in front of you and if you see then you all know better than us and decide. In my view what we could have done from our end is what we have done to do to the best of our ability from the Government of Odisha and Hockey India. We have full expectations and believe it will be a glorious and memorable World Cup, ” said Bhola Nath Singh.
With Hockey World Cup 2022 being played at home, Harmanpreet Singh-led India have a great opportunity to make a mark in this World Cup and come up with at least a podium finish as the entire nation has been waiting for it since 1975 when they became the champions under the leadership of Ajit Pal Singh.