Bhubaneswar, June 25 (IANS) The International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Monday reviewed the preparations being made for the Hockey Men’s World Cup 2018, scheduled to be held at Kalinga Stadium here in November.
Accompanied by officials from the host federation Hockey India, FIH event director Gabrielle van Zwieten had extensive meetings with Sports Secretary Vishal Dev and representatives from various departments to discuss the overall progress of work.
The day-long proceedings also included the 5th Executive Committee Meeting for the organisation of the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup, chaired by Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi.
Gabrielle will also be visiting the remaining facilities to complete her inspection visit on Tuesday, to check the preparedness to host the international teams.
“I am delighted with the progress of work here at the Kalinga Stadium and am quite confident the venue will be ready well within the stipulated time,” said the FIH events director.
“The keenness of the Odisha government and Hockey India (HI) to deliver to perfection and leave no stone unturned in their preparations to host the biggest hockey event is worth a mention and I am confident the hockey fraternity will witness a spectacular event starting this November,” dhe added.
The infrastructural work at the iconic Kalinga Stadium includes the up-gradation of seating capacity to 15,000. The stadium will also get two brand new pitches.
The floodlights at both main pitch and the practice pitch too have been upgraded while the entire main stadium is being given a face-lift with wider roads, new gates and permanent CCTV cameras for safety point of view.
“Bhubaneswar is one of the best venues for hockey in the country today. It is not just the passion the people of Odisha have for the sport that makes us want to bring big international events here but it’s also the pro-activeness of the Odisha government in terms of providing world-class facilities to ensure visiting teams, officials, spectators from across the globe get the best experience,” HI CEO Elena Norman said.
“From Hockey India, we have made regular visits to Bhubaneswar and I am happy to note that the infrastructural work is on schedule,” added Norman.
Sports Secretary Vishal Dev said: “We are all quite happy and satisfied with the ongoing preparations for the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2018. In terms of infrastructure, apart from the new turf being laid at the hockey ground, we have upgraded the floodlights of both the practice and main pitch.
“We are further giving the entire stadium a facelift by widening the roads, installing a new gate and permanent CCTV cameras from a safety point of view,” he added.
Significantly, a total of 36 matches will be played during the Hockey Men’s World Cup. The opening match of the tournament will see World No. 3 Belgium take on World No. 11 Canada on November 28 while host India will open their campaign the same day against South Africa.
The hosts will also be in action on December 2 as they play a strong Belgium team, whom they defeated in the quarter-finals of the Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017 at the same venue.
India’s third and final Pool match will be against Canada on December 8.
The 16 participating teams will play three matches each during the league stage over the span of 12 days before four cross-over matches take place on December 10 and 11.
The knockout matches will take place on December 12, 13, 15 and 16 the teams will look to become the Champions of the prestigious quadrennial event which was won by Australia in 2014.