Hockey World Cup success a massive lift for sport in Rourkela
From January 13 to 19, the stadium hosted at least four matches on most days which drew massive crowds irrespective of India playing or not.
Published: 31st January 2023 09:58 AM | Last Updated: 31st January 2023 09:59 AM | A+A A-
ROURKELA: After co-hosting the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup-2023 at the spectacular Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium, Rourkela has all the potential to become one of the prominent sports hub in the country.
From January 13 to 19, the stadium hosted at least four matches on most days which drew massive crowds irrespective of India playing or not. While this proved the naysayers—who questioned the wisdom behind the large investment on setting up the sports infrastructure—wrong, this World Cup has given a renewed confidence to the hockey fraternity.
Rourkela can now take the lead and help the game regain its popularity. The Birsa Munda stadium hosted a total of 20 matches during the World Cup. Senior hockey coach Kalu Charan Chaudhary said during India’s matches, the stadium, with 20,000-odd capacity, used to be jam-packed indicating the craze for the sport even among urban dwellers.
Chaudhary claimed that this marquee event is going to be the stepping stone in regaining hockey’s popularity. Owing to its success, the Odisha government and FIH have decided to organise Hockey Pro League matches at the stadium in March involving India, Germany and Australia.
After the Guinness Book of World Records officially recognised the Birsa Munda stadium as the world’s largest-seated hockey stadium, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday said he was thrilled and delighted about it. He also congratulated the people of Odisha. The CM said he was amazed that the Birsa Munda stadium was built in a record 15 months.
Officer on special duty for the World Cup in the city and IDCO Managing Director, Bhupendra Singh Poonia, said the world-class stadium is equipped with sophisticated facilities including hydrotherapy, cold and steam bath and modern gymnasium for training and injury recovery.
He said the stadium was constructed using mostly steel and aluminium which is symbolic of the Steel City. The Word Cup Village, with 225 rooms of star facilities, also exists on the stadium complex which is directly connected to the airport causing no traffic inconvenience, he added.