OdishaPlus Bureau

  • 20 Thousand capacity world class hockey facility at Steel City Rourkela
  • CM announces award of Rs 1 Cr for each player if Team India lifts the cup
  • Mo Bus service flagged off for Rourkela

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday inaugurated the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium at BPUT campus in Rourkela ahead of the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023 which will be played between January 13 and 29.

The colossal stadium, said to be one of the largest hockey stadiums in the world with a spectator capacity of 20,000, will be the venue for the Hockey World Cup matches along with the Kalinga stadium at Bhubaneswar.

Clad in his trademark white kurta and pajama, Patnaik took the mike to announce the public dedication of the stadium amid cheers by spectators who were packed to capacity to witness the historic occasion in the Steel City. This is for the first time Rourkela will be hosting the grand event.

““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 have also built the world’s largest hockey stadium. This is 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.”

The CM interacted with players of the National Men’s Hockey Team, who have been accommodated at the World Cup Village (WCV), and announced an award of Rs 1 Cr for each player in the event Team India lifted the World Cup.

Both the stadium and the Hockey Practice Centre in the vicinity have been certified Level 1 by FIH which is the highest in its category. The stadium has been named after legendary tribal leader and freedom fighter Birsa Munda.

Patnaik also inaugurated Hockey Training Centres in Sundargarh, Ganjam, Sambalpur and Rourkela.

Odisha Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera, President Hockey India Dilip Tirkey, Secretary (5T) V K Pandian, Secretary Sports R Vineel Krishna, MD IDCO Bhupendra Singh Poonia, Secretary General Hockey India Bholanath Singh and officials of the Odisha government and Hockey India were present at the inaugural function.

Prior to that, the Chief Minister inaugurated the WCV at the Birsa Munda Hockey stadium complex. The WCV has 225 well equipped swanky rooms for players (teams) and officials. The Hockey Stadium Complex, spread over 60,000 sq metres, has been completed in record 15 months time. The Taj Group has been roped in by Hockey India to offer quality service and hospitality to the players and support staff.

Earlier in the afternoon, the CM landed at the Rourkela airport where the first test flight landed on December 30. Regular commercial flight operation will commence at the airport from January 7. From there, the CM went straight to the WCV village.

After inaugurating the WCV, Patnaik flagged off the Mo Bus service in the city. A fleet of 30 Mo Buses will now begin operation in the Steel City ahead of the Hockey World Cup.

The CM also inaugurated a series of public welfare projects worth Rs 1109.24 Cr in Sundargarh meant to upgrade infra in the district. It includes the Sundargarh Medical College & Hospital where the first batch of 100 students has been given admission, recently. The CM briefly interacted with the students before proceeding to the main stadium.

Following the inaugural ceremony at the stadium, a practice match was played between India A & B men’s hockey teams.