Futuristic field hockey venue in India


India Odisha new field hockey stadium Image: FIH (Twitter)

A futuristic 20,000-capacity hockey facility – intended to become the world’s leading facility for field hockey – is all set to come up in Rourkela in the Indian State of Odisha for India’s staging of the 2023 Men’s Hockey World Cup. As per local officials, the biggest hockey stadium in the country will be completed by 2022.

The flagship hockey event will be co-hosted by Bhubaneswar and Rourkela, both located in the State of Odisha, with the Odisha Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik, initially revealing the plans for the new stadium in the latter City in December 2020.

After the stupendous success of Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup in 2018 and the scale at which it was hosted, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) had announced in 2019 that the 2023 FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup will be hosted in Odisha for a second consecutive time, at two venues – the Indian States of Bhubaneswar and Rourkela.

The International Hockey Federation, commonly known by the acronym FIH, is the international governing body of field hockey and indoor field hockey. Its headquarters are in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the President is Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra.

A team of senior Government officials led by Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra visited Rourkela on January 19th, 2021, to review the plans for the new stadium.

“As per the announcement made by the Chief Minister, it will be India’s largest hockey stadium, the identification of land and other works have been done, the construction work for the stadium will commence within three to four months and it will be completed within a record time of one year,” asserted Mohapatra before mediapersons.

The stadium will be developed at Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT) and will serve as the second venue for the 2023 World Cup alongside Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, which was the sole host when India last staged the fixture in 2018.

Mohapatra informed, “This stadium will be built on 15 acres of land, along with the main pitch stadium there will be practice pitches with floodlights, accommodation for players, a media center, gym, hydrotherapy, parking lots and other ultra-modern facilities of a world-class level.”

The 2023 World Cup will take place from January 13th-29th and is intended to tie in with India celebrating 75 years of independence in 2023.

The Steel City of Rourkela in Sundergarh district of Odisha (India) is gearing up to host the tournament at a scale equal to the 2018 edition if not better and for this, the Minister for Sports and Youth Services, Odisha, Tusharkanti Behera, Chief Secretary, Odisha, Asit Kumar Tripathy, International Hockey Federation (FIH) President, Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra, senior officials from the State Department of Sports and Youth Services (DSYS), Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation of Odisha (IDCO), Hockey India (HI) and Sundergarh and Rourkela administration convened to review, assess and lay the road map and systematically plan subsequent actions at the core of which lies sports infrastructure development as per FIH standards and urban development involving large scale upgradation of Rourkela City.

“We will create all necessary arrangements to host players, officials, sports enthusiasts from around the world, and give them a memorable experience. Like Bhubaneswar, Rourkela will aim to leave the sports fraternity in awe. We are aiming to complete all works by mid-2022,” Behera said in a statement.

Shedding light on the preparation ahead of the event, FIH President Batra said, “The FIH World Cup, either for men or for women, is the flagship event of hockey’s world governing body. Therefore, it is essential that all operational matters are conducted in a state-of-the-art way, so that athletes and fans can enjoy a thrilling time!”

Added Batra, “Furthermore, it’s important for the development of our sport to extend the number of venues around the world to be able to welcome such a competition. I’m really pleased with the commitment of the public authorities of Rourkela, which I’d like to thank wholeheartedly, and I’m convinced it will be a great venue for the FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup India 2023!”

Stating that the infrastructure work is on schedule to host the FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup, Hockey India President Gyanendro Ningombam remarked, “A delegation of senior officials from Hockey India made the visit to Rourkela where they joined officials from the Odisha State Government to access the infrastructure work being carried out in the Steel City ahead of the FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup India 2023.”

Ningombam added, “During this visit, the officials took note of the stadium and airport upgradation work being carried out as well as a review of the medical and accommodation facilities. The delegation also took note of the traffic, security and local transportation facilities between Bhubaneswar to Rourkela. The work is being expedited with an aim to ensure the FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup India 2023 too is a mega success.”

As a build-up to the event, DSYS has commenced the process of laying 16 synthetic turfs in 16 blocks of Sundergarh. Work is already under progress in Bhawanipur adding to the momentum. Work that was stalled amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has resumed in adherence to guidelines laid down as the coronavirus situation improves in India.

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