Odisha, Hockey India working for smooth conduct of Junior World Cup
Bhubaneswar: With less than two weeks to go for the men’s Junior Hockey World Cup, the officials of the Odisha government and Hockey India are working together to ensure smooth conduct of the event, state Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera said here on Monday.
The 12th edition of the Junior World Cup will be held at the Kalinga Stadium here from November 24 to December 5.
“Not just the infrastructure, the other processes for the successful conduct of the event are also in place in the state. We had 60 days to host the Junior World Cup and Odisha is ready to play the perfect host,” Behera said.
The minister said there is indeed disappointment among the players and hockey lovers, as the event will not have any spectator owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Yet, for the players, it will be a challenging and elating experience to play in the World Cup, he said.
“Similar to the Tokyo Olympics, we expect a large number of people to enjoy the matches virtually and share their love and support for the teams,” the minister said.
The FIH and Hockey India have ensured that the matches are broadcast live and hockey lovers can enjoy the matches on the Watch Hockey app and Star Sports network, he added.
Former Olympian and Chairman of Odisha Hockey Promotion Council, Dilip Tirkey, said, “A new era for hockey has begun. Odisha had hosted the men’s hockey World Cup in 2023 and hosting the Junior World Cup adds yet another feather to its cap. It is a new beginning in bringing the top young players from across the world to Odisha, the global hub of hockey.”
For the event, an 18-member of India squad has been announced with Vivek Prasad Sagar as the captain. Coach Graham Reid, who managed the senior team that won the bronze in Tokyo, is overseeing the team’s training at the Kalinga Stadium.
Most of the teams will begin to arrive later this week.
The last Junior World Cup was held in Lucknow in 2016, when India colts had lifted the trophy after defeating Belgium in the final.