Ahead of FIH Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup 2023, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday inaugurated the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium at Rourkela. Notably, Odisha is hosting the Hockey World Cup for the second consecutive time.
This time, the mega sports event will be organised at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar and the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela from January 13 to 29. While 24 matches will be played in Kalinga Stadium, 20 matches will be held in the Birsa Munda Stadium.
Both the stadium and the hockey practice centre at the stadium complex have been certified level-1 by FIH which is the highest in its category. As a tribute, the stadium has been named after legendary tribal leader Birsa Munda.
The Odisha government claimed that it is the biggest seated (chair) hockey stadium in the world. The stadium was constructed with a cost of Rs. 261 crore without taxes. Patnaik also inaugurated hockey training centres in Sundargarh, Ganjam, Sambalpur, and Rourkela.
"It is a moment of great joy and celebration for Odisha. We are not only hosting the Hockey World Cup for the second consecutive time, but we have also built the world's largest hockey stadium in Rourkela," Chief Minister said at the inauguration.
"This is the new Odisha. I dedicate this to the people of Sundargarh and the hockey players of our nation. I welcome the global hockey fraternity to come and experience its grandeur," he added.
In the coming years, the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium will play a pivotal role in taking Indian Hockey to global heights, Patnaik further said. The Chief Minister also inaugurated the World Cup Village with 225 rooms that will house the teams of the upcoming World Cup.
He spent some time with the national men's hockey team and announced an award of Rs 1 crore for each player if they win the World Cup. India will face off against Spain on January 13 in its first match of the 2023 FIH Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup at the Birsa Munda Stadium in Rourkela.
The men in blue are pitted against heavyweights England and Spain along with Wales in Pool D.