Hockey fever has gripped the nation’s cradle of the game with 1000’s of individuals turning as much as witness the boys’s World Cup match between England and Wales on the magnificent Birsa Munda stadium on the opening day on Friday.
The 21,000-capacity stadium, named after an Indian tribal freedom fighter, is alleged to be the largest hockey venue on the earth, and true to the custom of the state, a sea of spectators got here to observe the Pool D match.
The Sundergarh area of Odisha, of which Rourkela is the most important metropolis, is taken into account the cradle of Indian hockey as it has produced greater than 60 worldwide gamers, each women and men, together with captains like the present Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey.
Sansarpur in Punjab was earlier thought-about the nursery of Indian hockey nevertheless it has declined within the latest previous.
Thousands of hockey followers queued up on the gates hours earlier than the beginning of the England-Wales match (5 p.m.), with lots of them coming from all throughout Odisha to have a glimpse of the brand-new stadium as effectively as India’s first worldwide match within the area.
“I have seen matches at the Kalinga Stadium and now I am going to experience the same at the Birsa Munda stadium, which is our pride. This region has produced so many Indian players and done so much for the game in the country,” stated Hemanta Das, who has come from Jharsuguda, practically 150km from right here.
“I want to be among those who watch the first match at this stadium, so I am going to watch the England vs Wales and then the India-Spain match,” stated one other fan from Rourkela.
The metropolis wore a festive look with billboards and roadside wall work regarding the World Cup far and wide. The state authorities has additionally arrange three fan parks — referred to as Olly Land referring to the official mascot of the World Cup, the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtle — outdoors the Birsa Munda and Kalinga Stadium as effectively as the Puri seashore, the place massive screens have been put up for followers to observe the matches stay.
Organisers claimed that the tickets for all 20 matches right here have been bought out inside one week of the sale opening. The stadium was not less than two-thirds full in the course of the England vs Wales match.
The Birsa Munda stadium was in-built a document time of 15 months to host the World Cup matches. The stadium will host 20 of the 44 matches of the World Cup, whereas the remaining 24, together with the semifinals and closing, shall be performed on the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, which is internet hosting back-to-back World Cup.
The 200-crore Birsa Munda stadium has been constructed on an space of 35 acres contained in the 120-acre campus of the Biju Patnaik University of Technology on the outskirts of Rourkela.
It is a singular stadium as it homes a Rs 80-crore lodging — referred to as World Cup village — which has over 200 rooms to deal with not less than eight groups and star amenities serviced by the Taj Group. It additionally has a connecting tunnel between the dressing room and the adjoining follow pitch, a separate health centre and a swimming pool.
The stadium has not hosted any senior worldwide occasion earlier than the World Cup however coaches and gamers of all 16 collaborating groups don’t have anything however admiration for the stadium.
“It is a magnificent stadium and the facilities here are fantastic. We have trained on the pitch four or five times and it was fantastic. It’s the same as at the Kalinga Stadium,” Spain captain Alvaro Iglesias stated.
India coach Graham Reid was in awe of the state-of-the-art stadium.
“It is unbelievably good and facilities are fantastic. What has changed in the last 15 months has been quite incredible. Living in the World Cup village since December 27 has been quite amazing. I am happy with the pitch, we are getting used to it,” he stated.
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