BHUBANESWAR: There are fans and there is Swetlana Anand. She has not missed a single chance to watch her favourite hockey player Tom Boon, the Belgium striker, play at Kalinga Stadium here.
On Wednesday, when the Red Lions took on Team India in the quarterfinals of Hockey World League, she was there to see the ace drag-flicker.
It all started in 2014, when Hockey Champions Trophy was held at Kalinga Stadium here. Swetlana sent a friend request to Boon on social media site and he replied. “He said, I my reaching your city Bhubaneswar. I was very very excited when he acknowledged,” recalls the teenager, who is a student of ODM Public School of Bhubaneswar.
In the Champions Trophy, the fan met her hero. “When I met him, he presented me two jerseys - one of Dabang Mumbai and the other, Belgium team. Apart from that I also have the hockey sticks of Boon,” she says with a ginger of pride in her eyes. Boon played for Dabang Mumbai franchise of Hockey India League.
Soon, she was in the Tom Boon Fan Club of Belgium and some of the members are her friends with whom she is in regular touch. “I have a friend Alexandra who is also a Belgium women hockey player and also member of Boon fan club,” Swetlana says. She is a huge fan of Mandeep Singh, Manpreet Singh, Sardar Singh and PR Sreejesh.
The Red Lions striker also acknowledges that Swetlana is one of his fans who is always in the stands to cheer him in the Kalinga Stadium. Her mother accompanies her daughter too. “ I come to watch every hockey match with my daughter. In our cricket crazy nation, I love hockey,” said Nita Patnaik, Swetlana’s mother.
So when India clashed with Belgium, whom did Swetlana cheer for? “I came to see Tom but cheered for India. I am happy as my country entered the semifinals of Odisha Hockey World League Final here,” said Swetlana.
Hockey ball injures ASI
Bhubaneswar: A police personnel deployed at Kalinga Stadium was injured during one of the matches of Hockey World League Final after the ball bounced out of the ground and hit his head. Sources identified the injured police personnel as Bhagabati Nayak, an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) posted at Bidanasi police station in Cuttack.
“The police personnel got injured after the ball bounced out of the ground and hit his head during the quarter-final match between England and Argentina,” a policeman said, adding that he was offered first aid at the venue and later shifted to a hospital. One of the spectators said the ball bounced out of the ground on at least two occasions during the same match.