Bhubaneswar: Not only the hockey lovers of the state, the three Odisha lads who have found a place in the National team, are also excited for the upcoming Men’s Hockey World Final which is scheduled to begin from December 1 at Kalinga Stadium.
Defenders Birendra Lakra, Amit Rohidas and Dipsan Tirkey are a part of Team India in this prestigious tournament. Experienced Lakra is making a comeback in the national team after recovering from an injury whereas Rohidas and Tirkey have maintained their place in the squad after a fine show at the recently concluded Asia Cup where India grabbed the title.
Speaking exclusively to OTV, Birendra Lakra said, “I am really delighted to make a comeback into the team. I am more happy that my comeback is on my home turf here. Bhubaneswar has become a great destination for the game with plenty of crowd support for the team.”
When asked about the practice session and the defence line-up with three from the state, Birendra replied, “There is a good combination of youth and experience. Support staff is working hard for us ahead of the tournament. We don’t know if all three of us will get a chance to play together. But if we are together on the turf, there will be no problem between us in coordination as we know each other really well.”
Kalinga Lancers Amit Rohidas and Dipsan Tirkey are equally eager to perform well in international hockey in front of their home crowd for the first time.
“I’m very happy that I got selected in the team. I got a chance in the senior team first because of my performance in the Hockey India League here and now I am looking forward to play in front of a packed house here,” stated Amit Rohidas.
Dipsan Tirkey, the Junior World Cup hero for India will be awarded the prestigious ‘Ekalavya Award’ for 2017 by IMFA on December 3 in Bhubaneswar after first two matches of the competition.
“I am happy to play for my country at my home venue. These awards encourage us and help us to grow. ‘Ekalavya Award’ will be helpful for growth of my confidence,” expressed Dipsan.
After Athens Olympics in 2004, this is the first time, three players from the state are going to wear the Indian jersey. Dilip Tirkey, Ignace Tirkey and William Xalco were a part of the Indian team at the Athens Olympics.