Rourkela, Jan 5 (PTI) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday inaugurated the Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium, the largest hockey stadium in the country, here.
Standing in the middle of the jampacked stadium, Patnaik announced the opening of the facility ahead of the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023 beginning from January 13. Rourkela is the second venue for the international event after the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
Patnaik said the stadium is a gift of Odisha to the entire nation.
Rourkela will host 20 of the 44 matches while the remaining 24 matches, including the final, will be played at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
India’s first match against Spain is scheduled to be played at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium here on January 13. Two days later, India will be up against England at the same venue.
The stadium named after eminent tribal freedom fighter Birsa Munda, was built at a cost of Rs 146 crore. The total capacity of the stadium is 21,000 and it is the largest hockey stadium in the country. The facility is spread over 15 acres of land on the campus of Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT).
The stadium was built by the Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO). The foundation stone of the stadium was laid by the Odisha chief minister in February 2021.
The state will be hosting the men’s hockey world cup for the second time in a row. The first such event was organized in 2018. This will be the fourth time India will host this event.
The stadium is regarded as one of the biggest in the world. Even FIH head Md Tayaab Ikram during his visit here had mentioned that “it is amongst one of the biggest in the world.” Apart from the main turf, it has a practice turf just adjacent to the main stadium, fitness centre, hydrotherapy pool, dressing and changing room, connecting tunnel and five-star accommodation, two hundred and fifty rooms which can accommodate four hundred players.
There are six entry and exit points for those visiting the stadium. Besides, there are huge parking provisions for two and four-wheeler vehicles.
Patnaik also unveiled a book titled ‘Odisha Re Hockey’ (Hockey In Odisha) which has been published by the School and Mass Education Department. The book deals on the history of Hockey in Sundargarh and the role of Odisha in promoting the national sport of India.
Patnaik also inaugurated ‘Mo Bus’ (my bus) services in Rourkela with 30 vehicles for hassle-free movement especially during the hockey world cup match.
Earlier, Patnaik inaugurated World Cup Village and announced a reward of Rs 1 crore for each player of the Indian hockey team if they win the World Cup Hockey. He also interacted with Team India players to boost their morale ahead of the tournament.
Source: PTI News