Sunday, April 14, 2024

One year to go, India take own steps towards men’s Hockey World Cup

Construction is still on track for the new 20,000-seater stadium in Rourkela, which will act as a second venue alongside Bhubaneswar at the 2023 Men’s Hockey World Cup. Logistics and match schedule for teams have yet to be determined. So too the Rourkela airstrip.

What is known is that there is just under one year to go before India hosts successive men’s showpieces and Belgium defends its title.

For India, captain Manpreet Singh says the team approach is a “step by step” one. There was a considerable cauldron of pressure for the host team in 2018 – and that may well be heightened after their Tokyo Olympic campaign finished with bronze. Already, one can sense full, vibrant crowds in support of India.

Manpreet said: “We’ve had a wonderful 2021, and we look to capitalise on it as we have a lot of important tournaments scheduled in 2022.

“So, we will take one tournament at a time, and prepare ourselves fully to play the marquee event at our home.”

Manpreet Singh, India hockey

With the 15th edition of the Men’s Hockey World Cup staged in two cities, Manpreet said the tournament would be bigger and better.

The 29-year-old said: “Playing in front of the crowd during the 2018 World Cup was one of the best experiences for us. The people from Odisha are very passionate about hockey and with two venues being utilised for the 2023 World Cup, I am sure it will be bigger and more exciting.”

The Bhubaneswar-Rourkela event will be hosted for the record fourth time in India. It will hold a special significance for the country as India will be celebrating 75 years of Independence in 2023.

“We will be playing the prestigious event at home for the record fourth time, but this time it will be extra special as our country will be celebrating 75 years of independence. We will be fortunate to play a tournament like the World Cup on our home soil in front of our own people,” added Manpreet.

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