Renovated Kalinga Stadium inaugurated ahead of Hockey World Cup
Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the newly renovated Kalinga Stadium on Wednesday as Bhubaneswar is gearing up to host the most-awaited hockey tournament -the 14th Men’s Hockey World Cup 2018.
An exhibition match was also played between the Dilip Tirkey-XI and Dhanraj Pillay-XI teams led by the two hockey legends respectively. Both the team comprising of former players and the current stars of team India enthralled the fans.
It was a great opportunity for the younger players to get a chance to play along with their heroes.
“After a gap of almost 8 years, I played a hockey match. I have been practising since last week for this match. Today I realised the difficulty of playing speed and fast hockey on an astro-turf,” said Dilip Tirkey after the match.
I thank the legends of both the teams who became a part of this exhibition match and performed well, added Tirkey.
Tirkey further said “I am happy that I got a chance to play in front of my home crowd. I really thank the Odisha Sports department and the organisers.”
While former players like Deepak Thakur, Jugraj Singh played under Dilip Tirkey, Dhanraj Pillay-XI included players like Viren Ruskina, V R Raghunath, Sardar Singh, Prabhjyot Singh and Sandeep Singh.
“There have been a lot of changes in the style of hockey played now and during our time. The game has become fast and improved a lot. Skilful hockey was played during our days but now it’s about speed. It was a good match overall,” said former captain of team India, Dhanraj Pillay.
He further said “Dilip Tirkey has been doing so much for sports in this region and I hope he continues to do so in the coming days.”
After the match, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik felicitated the players with the trophy and cash reward.
Braving heavy rain and strong winds under the influence of cyclone Titli, fans turned up in large numbers at the new stadium and witnessed the match.