With Hockey India announcing Bhubaneswar and Rourkela as the host cities for the 2023 FIH Men's World Cup, India Captain Manpreet Singh expressed excitement about the prestigious quadrennial event returning to the spectacular Kalinga Stadium. "There is no doubt that the Kalinga Stadium is one of the world's best venues we have ever played in. It's not only the Indian team who enjoy playing here but other teams like Belgium and the Netherlands too enjoy the crowds, the atmosphere and the infrastructure here. It is the first time that India will be hosting back-to-back World Cups and it is a matter of great pride for us. It will also be 75 years since Indian Independence in 2023 and it would be incredible if we can add to the celebrations by lifting the World Cup title," stated Manpreet expressing his aspirations for the team.
On Rourkela being another host city, Manpreet said, "This is great initiative taken up by Odisha Government and Hockey India. Rourkela and its surrounding region has a rich hockey culture with many of my teammates and senior players emerging from there. Hosting a major event like the World Cup there will not only boost the hockey scene further, it will also show the real hockey belt of Odisha to the world."
Speaking about India's performance, Manpreet said the team is steadily improving and Hockey Pro League will test their consistency. "I think the team has grown steadily in this past year with a number of youngsters getting very good international exposure. We have a good pool of players who can be further tested during the Hockey Pro League. Although we have maintained our world ranking at No.5, our consistency will be put to test during the Hockey Pro League where we play top teams like Netherlands, Belgium and Australia in the first three months of the season," added the midfielder.
The Indian Men's Hockey Team are currently based out of Bhubaneswar for the ongoing National Coaching Camp that concludes on 8 December 2019.
More Newsview All
PR Sreejesh has set the bar very high for Goalkeepers in India, says Indian Junior Men's Hockey Team Goalkeeper Prashant Kumar Chauhan
Indian Junior Men's Hockey Team Goalkeeper Prashant Kumar Chauhan has been part of important victories in his short junior international career so far. The 19-year-old was part of the silver medal-winning team at the 3rd Youth Olympic Games in 2018 and the Sultan of Johor Cup in 2019. The Goalkeeper said that he is extremely happy with the way his career has progressed so far.
I watch and learn from Rupinder Pal Singh's dragflicking abilities, says India Colts dragflicker Pratap Lakra
India Colts defender/ dragflicker Pratap Lakra is yet another prodigy emerging from the tribal belt of Sundergarh district in Odisha which is a hotbed of talented hockey players. From a small hamlet called Beldihi near Sundergarh, hockey came naturally to Pratap whose father and sister were already popular in that region for their innate abilities on the field and earned recognition for the family at the famed Khasi Tournament where the prize is a rare breed of goat meat to feast on for the winning team. "For me, hockey was a natural choice. Everyone in my village played the sport. My sister had played for the state and my father was a regular at the Khasi tournaments. I was very young when I picked up the stick and I knew hockey would be my future," said Pratap Lakra.