CHENNAI: Bhubaneswar will become the second Indian city after New Delhi to host the senior as well as the junior men’s hockey World Cups. After successfully hosting the senior World Cup in 2018, the city will play host to the junior World Cup in two months’ time (from November 24 to December 5). Even if the event was originally allocated to Guwahati by Hockey India (HI), Bhubaneswar emerged as a consensus candidate given its experience in organising world-class hockey events.
At a time when Covid-19 still very much threatens the conduct of events, HI, and the International Hockey Federation (FIH), decided to take it back to a venue where the facilities are first rate. Moreover, given they know a lot of familiar faces in the state machinery, they feel confident that the conduct of the World Cup will not be threatened even if there is an uptick of Covid-19 cases in the weeks prior to or during the tournament.
This much was made clear to this daily by the FIH’s CEO, Thierry Weil, during an interaction a week or so earlier. “All aspects had to be taken into consideration, with regard to Covid, including conducting the event even if there is a rise in positive cases,” Weil had told this daily.
Even if this paper had reported earlier that Bhubaneswar was a frontrunner to host the event 2-3 weeks ago, it was rubber-stamped by State CM, Naveen Patnaik, at an event on Thursday. He also unveiled the trophy that’s currently held by India who won the event in 2016.
As far as the event itself is concerned, both New Zealand and Australia, who originally qualified for it, have pulled out citing Covid-19. This meet further solidifies Bhubaneswar’s calling card as the new destination of world hockey. By the turn of the year, they will have conducted four global events since 2014. They are also slated to host the next senior World Cup in early 2023.