Odisha: The sports capital of India - Hindustan Times

Odisha: The sports capital of India

Feb 12, 2023 04:11 PM IST

Odisha is a land of exciting spectacles, and sports is one of them. Under the visionary leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Odisha is developing a robust sports ecosystem, which includes international stadiums, sports complexes, indoor & multi-purpose halls, football & hockey training centres and mini stadiums. It went on to host several marquee events thus making a global impression

From hosting the Hockey Men’s World Cup for a second consecutive time to constructing the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela in a record 15 months, it has been a dream ride for the Odisha Government under the leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik

Over the last two decades, the Odisha Government has actively and heavily invested in international hockey, hosting large-scale multi-nation events such as the FIH Hockey World Cup, FIH Series Finals, FIH World League, and the FIH Champions Trophy.

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The state is no stranger to major hockey events having hosted various events in recent years including the FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup in 2021 and the FIH Hockey Pro League over the past four years, following the FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup in 2018.

Both Bhubaneswar and Rourkela are enthralling hockey fans all over the world, as the joint venues of Kalinga Stadium (Bhubaneswar) and the brand-new Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium (Rourkela) hosted the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup from January 13 to 29, 2023.

Taking to his Twitter handle, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote, “As hockey comes home to #Odisha, we celebrate the spirit of hockey across the nation. With every heart in the nation beating as one for hockey, let’s us all join to cheer for team India. Let the passion for the game spread to billion hearts.”

Preferred destination for marquee events

After the spectacular success of the Asian Athletics Championship in 2017 and the Hockey Men’s World Cup 2018, Odisha was complimented with the title of ‘Sports Capital of India’. It went on to host several marquee events thus making a global impression.

Odisha is investing significantly in developing an inclusive and all-accessible sports ecosystem that benefits its sportspersons and promotes a healthy lifestyle right from Block to State Level.

Here’s a look at the sporting venues where Hockey World Cup matches will be held.

Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar: Kalinga Sports Complex located in the heart of Bhubaneswar is known as one of the best sports hubs in India for its world-class infrastructures and facilities, for Hockey, Athletics, Football, Sport Climbing, Weightlifting, Swimming, Sport Science, etc.

The iconic Kalinga Stadium was one of the two venues for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023. The Kalinga Hockey Stadium is a part of the multi-purpose complex collectively referred to as Kalinga Stadium Sports Complex which also includes an eight-lane synthetic athletics track, various high-performance centres, a football stadium, an Olympic swimming facility and plenty more.

The Kalinga Hockey Stadium has become a global hub of hockey for nearly a decade. The stadium hosted its first major international tournament when it was awarded the hosting rights to the Champions Trophy in 2014.

The success of the event prompted further action as the 2017 Hockey World League finals saw the best 8 teams in the world converge in Odisha to play in front of packed audiences. A year later the Kalinga Stadium took centre stage once again as the premier men’s hockey tournament – the FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup was played in Bhubaneswar.

Since then, the Kalinga Stadium has been the home of the Indian hockey team, with not only the men’s and women’s teams training at the stadium, but it is also where they have played their home matches during the FIH Hockey Pro League. In 2021, the FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup was also played in the Kalinga Stadium.

The Kalinga Stadium is home of the Indian hockey team.
The Kalinga Stadium is home of the Indian hockey team.

Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium, Rourkela: The Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium, based in the industrial city of Rourkela in the western part of the state of Odisha, was the second of the two venues for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023.

The stadium is named after Birsa Munda, an Indian tribal freedom fighter, and folk hero who spearheaded a tribal religious millenarian movement that arose in the Bengal Presidency in the late 19th century, making him an important figure in the history of the Indian independence movement.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the World Cup Village at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium Complex recently. The World Cup Village has been developed within record nine months and flaunts 225 room with all amenities befitting the stature of the Hockey World Cup.

The aim of the stadium is to provide a much-needed boost to the hockey infrastructure in the district, paving the way for future stars who can get access to international standard facilities within their own region.

The Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium is built on 15 acres of land at the Biju Patnaik University of Technology campus in Rourkela, which is often referred to as the “Steel City of Odisha”. It has a seating capacity for over 20,000 spectators and is the largest seated hockey stadium in the world and with this it has made it to the Guinness Book of Records.

Barabati Stadium, Cuttack: The iconic Barabati Stadium is an Indian sports stadium located in Cuttack. It is a regular venue for international cricket and is the home ground of Odisha cricket team.

The stadium is owned and operated by the Odisha Cricket Association. This stadium has seen many stalwarts grace the ground, from Kapil Dev to Yuvraj Singh.

The 15th FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup got off to a spectacular start with the Opening Ceremony at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack. The stadium was built in 1958 and has a seating capacity of 45,000.

It has hosted numerous domestic and international cricket matches, including One Day Internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is).

The Barabati Stadium is known for its unique location, as it is situated on the banks of the river Mahanadi and surrounded by the Barabati Fort. The stadium has undergone several renovations and upgrades over the years, including the installation of floodlights in 1997 and the addition of a new electronic scoreboard in 2002.

The Barabati Stadium has also played host to other sporting events, such as football and athletics, as well as cultural events and concerts. In addition to the main cricket field, the stadium also has several practice pitches, indoor and outdoor training facilities, and a gym.

The stadium has a rich history and has been the site of many memorable cricketing moments. It is an important part of the sporting culture of Odisha and continues to be a popular destination for cricket fans from around the country.

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