Vikash Sharma

The stage is all set for the prestigious and mega Men's FIH Hockey World Cup scheduled to start from January 13 to 29 in Odisha. The excitement among the fans has already reached its zenith, and they are looking forward to the matches in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela.

Odisha Chief Secretary Suresh Mohapatra said, as the state government had successfully hosted the world cup in 2018, there will not be any problem in hosting the international event in a grand manner. Earlier, all the matches were held in Bhubaneswar and now for the first time matches will be played in Rourkela.

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“Making ready the new stadium at Rourkela with 20,000 capacity within a year’s time was certainly a challenge. Most of the challenges have been met and 16 nations will play matches in the Steel City. Four matches have been planned in one day here,” said Mohapatra.

According to the Chief Secretary, accommodation for nearly 150-200 international delegates is also a challenge and the responsibility has now been given to Taj Groups.

“There is excitement among people as the hockey extravaganza is being held for the first time in Rourkela. We will give ample opportunity to youngsters and others to witness the grand event as it will inspire them to play hockey,” said Mohapatra.

According to Mohapatra, there are no restrictions as such on account of Covid while wearing of masks is also voluntary and no mandatory restrictions have clamped.

“Last year, most of the population was exposed to the Omicron variant in India and Odisha as well, and we have achieved herd immunity as well. There are no restrictions and no chances of restrictions by the state government as of now. The matches will be played with full stadium capacity,” Mohapatra added.

(Reported by Niranjan Reddy)