The FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup is nearing its end with the final scheduled to be played on January 29.
As the teams prepare to vie for the top prize, a dedicated group of individuals, in addition to Hockey India and officials from the Odisha government, have been tirelessly working behind the scenes to ensure the marquee event is a mega success.
These individuals are the volunteers from the Government University of Physical Education, Bhubaneswar and Sambalpur, who got the rare opportunity to work for an event of such magnitude.
The volunteers have been an integral part of the organising team, lending their time and support to ensure that the tournament is a success.
From setting up the venues to helping with logistics, hospitality, stand management etc., the volunteers have been working tirelessly to make sure that everything is in place.
Rajendra Prasad Pani, Under Secretary in the Sports Department, who oversees volunteer management for Hockey India, said, “We had to ensure that the volunteers were ready for the big event. We began selecting and screening them in November last, and they had their orientation as early as December 2022. It is a challenging job, but they have really excelled at it.”
The tournament has been a great learning experience for the volunteers. As students of physical education, it has been a great opportunity for them to interact with some of the world’s finest athletes and get backstage access to a sporting spectacle, he said.
Besides the memories, the experience is invaluable in terms of their career development, as many wish to pursue careers in sports. Their newly-acquired knowledge will hold them in good stead for their future prospects, Pani said.
Debiprasad Sahoo, who studies at the Government University of Physical Education, said he is optimistic about pursuing sports management someday.
Sharing his experience, Sahoo said, “We’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the best athletes in the world and have learned so much about the planning, processes and execution of a major sports event. It is a matter of great pride that our home state is hosting this event and it feels special to contribute in our own way.”
These volunteers have been the unsung heroes of the tournament, and their contributions have not gone unnoticed.