To mark the one-year anniversary since the commencement of the Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018, a spectacular event was held in Bhubaneswar today, which saw Hockey India announce the cities of Bhubaneswar and Rourkela as the venues for the 2023 FIH Hockey Men's World Cup, a bid which was yet again won by Hockey India.
The mega announcement by Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha Shri Naveen Patnaik was made in the presence of dignitaries including Honourable Sports Minister, Government of Odisha Mr. Tusharkanti Behera, Chief Secretary Government of Odisha Mr. Asit Kumar Tripathy, FIH President Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra, Development Commission-cum-Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Odisha Mr. Suresh Chandra Mahapatra, Hockey India President Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad, Chairman of Hockey Promotion Council Padma Shri Dr. Dilip Tirkey, Secretary-cum-Commissioner, Department of Sports & Youth Services, Government of Odisha Mr. Vishal Kumar Dev, and Director, Department of Sports & Youth Services, Government of Odisha Mr. R Vineel Krishna, were among other top officials from Hockey India and Government of Odisha. The Indian Men's Hockey Team, currently based in Bhubaneswar for National Coaching Camp, were also present during the announcement.
On this momentous occasion, FIH President Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra said: “On behalf of FIH, I would like to extend our sincerest thanks to the Government of Odisha and Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha Shri Naveen Patnaik in particular for their great and permanent support to hockey over the years. This really is remarkable and contributes to grow our sport not only in India but in the world also. Our thanks also go to Hockey India for their dedication and efforts to put together an unforgettable event.”
The precision in which the Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 was conducted, and the grandeur of the marquee event drew several accolades from the hockey fraternity worldwide. The unparalleled support by Government of Odisha towards the development of hockey, their vision to provide state-of-the-art infrastructure like none other in the world, and the government's willingness to invest in the event were some of the key reasons to name the State as the venue for the prestigious event in 2023.
Thierry Weil, CEO, FIH resonated Dr Batra's views and stated: “We are glad to come back to Odisha where everyone, from the fans to the teams and the officials, had such a great experience a year ago. Conscious of the costs generated by the organization of such world events, we think that using existing facilities – especially when they are of the quality of those provided in Bhubaneswar – is a real advantage. Also, the income-generation potential of the bid submitted by Hockey India will contribute to the development of hockey worldwide, which is the first mission of the International Hockey Federation. Furthermore, we will work closely with Hockey India on the sustainability and legacy aspects of the 2023 FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup.”
As a State that is rapidly gaining popularity as the Sports Capital of India, announcing the return of the World Cup to Odisha on the one-year anniversary of the FIH Hockey Men's World Cup 2018 which ensured top-class infrastructure, safety parameters for traveling teams, delegates and fans from across the globe, it was imperative to consider Odisha as an ideal venue for the FIH Hockey Men's World Cup in 2023. "When we decided to bid for the 2023 FIH Hockey Men's World Cup, we had about five states that showed interest in hosting the coveted event in 2023. Having successfully hosted the 2018 Men's World Cup here in Bhubaneswar, it was important for Hockey India to raise the bar further and ensure the next event is bigger and better than what world hockey saw in 2018. Hockey India shares an excellent working relationship with the Government of Odisha whose vision for the sport aligns with ours. In terms of economics involved in hosting an event of this magnitude, Government of Odisha's support was unmatched and I am confident the world will witness yet another incredible World Cup in 2023," stated Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad, President, Hockey India.
In a bid to contribute towards the growth of the sport in India, Honourable Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik also announced at the event today that all 17 blocks of Sundargarh district would be equipped with synthetic pitches, and the event also saw the Hon’ble Chief Minister lay down the foundation stone for a staggering 17 synthetic pitches in Sundargarh district-- which is a breeding ground for hockey in India. An ambitious Hockey Grassroots Program by Hockey India too was announced during the event today, which will see the federation closely work with the Department of Sports and Youth Services, Government of Odisha for the development of the sport at the grassroots' level. It was also announced in the event, a permanent facility will be constructed near the practice pitch of the Kalinga Stadium for establishment of a High Performance Centre.
Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik expressed his delight at Odisha hosting the 2023 edition of the tournament, "Odisha has always been the cradle of hockey, and with the successful organising of the Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018, we showcased a very different side of our state. We have always had a very passionate crowd which supports the sport of hockey, and with the presence of world-class, top-of-the-line facilities in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela, it swells my heart with great pride that Odisha will once again be celebrating the festival of hockey when we host the FIH Hockey Men's World Cup in January 2023."
The 15,000 plus fans present at the stadium for today’s announcement, roared with excitement when the Hon’ble Chief Minister announced the World Cup would be returning to Odisha in 2023.
The Government of Odisha further placed emphasis on their commitment towards the sport, as they announced that the Kalinga Stadium, Odisha, will be part of the full-fledged Hockey High Performance.
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