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Hockey world cup

The Hockey World Cup 2023 is happening in India between the 13th of January 2023 and the 29th of January 2023 in Odisha. India first hosted the World Cup event in Mumbai in 1982. Then, India again hosted the event in 2010 in New Delhi. In 2017, Odisha hosted the finals of the Hockey World League and was appreciated at the national and international levels.

Odisha sponsored the Indian Hockey team in 2018, making it the first-ever state in India to do so. Currently, it is also hosting the Hockey World Cup 2023. This time, some of the matches would be played at Rourkela’s new Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium, which is claimed as the largest stadium in the world. Odisha Government has also established the Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High-Performance center in partnership with the Tata group.

India Welcomed Hockey teams from around the Globe

Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, Odisha’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, International Hockey Federation President Tayyab Ikram, and Hockey India Chairman Dilip Tirkey were present at the welcoming ceremony of the Hockey World Cup 2023 in Odisha on the 9th of January. India welcomed all the 16 participating teams from around the world with full enthusiasm and energy in the Barbati Stadium of Cuttack, Odisha. The welcoming ceremony was all about colorful cultural programs and fireworks. Artists from around the world participated in the inauguration ceremony.

World’s largest Hockey Stadium in India

On the 5th of January, Odisha’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium. The Chief objective was for the Hockey World Cup. Odisha’s cities of Bhubaneswar and Rourkela have been set up for hosting the World Cup 2023, featuring 16 teams around the world. The group stage of the competition features single-headed round-robin matches between the teams in each group. It is the world’s largest stadium in terms of seating capacity. Furthermore, it contains seating for approximately 20,000 people with a large area of 50 acres. 

Showcase of Indian culture

In the evening after the first match for Hockey, there was a transcendental and divinely cultural dance performance. A tribute to Odisha’s rich heritage and culture was shown. The official anthem of the Hockey World Cup 2023, “Hockey hai dil mera” was sung by its composer Pritam at the inauguration ceremony. Inspite of all the efforts both by the players and the country there is very little importance given to the sport in India.

Why There Is no Coverage in the Media

In India, football and cricket are two of the most widely watched sports. People support their favorite athletes with such enthusiasm during World Cup and IPL events. This is not the case in India for hockey and many other sports. Take the example of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Indians celebrated it as a festival even though our nation didn’t even take part in the competition However, very few people in India are aware that India is hosting the Hockey World Cup. Given that hockey is India’s national sport, that is pretty shameful.

It is disappointing to see that neither the fans nor the media are giving the sport the respect it merits. The former captain of the Indian Hockey team also tweeted about his disappointment in the media in this country for not providing coverage of hockey as other sports.

                                                                                                 -JASMINE CHOUDHARY

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