Odisha is becoming the hub for the national sport in India. The refurbished Kalinga Stadium seems to have infused a new zest for the sport amongst the citizens which is but a natural extension as the state is home to players like Dilip Tirkey, Ignes Trikey, Anupa Barla, Jyoti Kullu to name a few have brought laurels for the country. The Indian Hockey Premier League in which Kalinga Lancers represents the state has also added to the popularity of the sport.
Hockey World Cup:
The most awaited hockey event, the Men’s Hockey World Cup will be hosted by Bhubaneswar in 2018. Sixteen teams are scheduled to participate in the World Cup that will be held from November 28 to December 16. As per FIH guidelines, the Odisha Government is getting ready to accommodate over 1,100 players and officials from these 16 countries. The venue of Kalinga Stadium, already recognised for its world class facilities is being renovated and expanded to offer the best turfs and other premium amenities for the players, the support staffs and the visiting press. Visitors can also find a recreation-cum-shopping zone which will have cafeteria, food court and souvenir centre, specially built for the event. The main hockey stadium of the Kalinga Sports Complex will be ready to accommodate a seating capacity for 15,000 spectators.
Hockey World League:
After successfully hosting the Men’s Champions Trophy 2014 where India finished fourth, the Hockey World League is the second major international hockey tournament for Bhubaneswar. Kalinga Stadium, the venue, successfully hosted the players in the mega championship. The crowd support despite rains during later stages of the tournament was something noted by both the FIH and the players and the appreciation for the turnout can be gauged from their posts in social media. Eight top hockey teams of the world were divided into two pools. Pool A included Argentina, Belgium, Netherlands and Spain while host India along with defending champion Australia, England and Germany were in pool B. Australia were the deserved winners with Argentina taking the Runners-up spot and hosts India bagging the third place much to the joy of the vociferous local supporters.