Over the past few years, Odisha, under the visionary leadership of Hon’ble Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, has undertaken several ground-breaking sports initiatives to transform itself into a ‘preferred global sports destination’. From hosting marquee events to developing world-class infrastructure to strengthening sports grassroots programs, Odisha has been at the forefront of supporting all forms of sports. It is also the hub of High Performance Centres. The state has contributed massively to the development of sports is a prime example of sports tourism.
Hockey is deeply connected to Odisha’s rich culture. It has produced champions like Dilip Tirkey, Pramod Tirkey, Lazarus Barla, Jyoti Sunita Kullu, Sunita Lakra, Amit Rohidas, Deep Grace Ekka, Namita Toppo, among others. Hon’ble Chief Minister himself was the goalkeeper for his school team, hence he has a deep emotional connect with the sport. Hockey is integral to the state and attracts audience in thousands.
Odisha has been one of the pivotal reasons behind Indian Hockey’s success in the recent years. The Odisha State Government became an official partner of Hockey India in 2018, and since then Indian Hockey teams have significantly improved. Over the years, Odisha has hosted various marquee tournaments such as Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018, FIH Men’s Series Finals 2019, Olympic Hockey Qualifiers 2019, FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021, FIH Hockey Pro League 2020, 2021-22 and 2022-23.
The FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 was hosted with grandeur at the state-of-art Kalinga Hockey Stadium, which was refurbished with two new galleries, increasing the capacity to 15,000 seats. It received an overwhelming response from hockey followers world-wide. It attracted massive tourists from India as well as around the world. The state received around 2.22 million domestic tourist and an average 15,000 foreign tourists during the 2018 World Cup phase.
Odisha and Hockey India are now set to host the Hockey World Cup for the second consecutive time. Officials of Odisha government and Hockey India have left no stones unturned in the preparations for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar – Rourkela. It promised to be bigger and more exciting as there will be two venues utilised in this edition. This 15th edition of the World Cup will also take place in the Sundergarh district- ‘Cradle of Indian Hockey, where a brand-new Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium with a seating capacity of 20,000 has been built. The premises of the stadium has athletes’ accommodation, Hockey Practice Centre, Gymn, Swimming Pool, and provision for fan-park and various other event-related activities.