The FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 is nearing its conclusion, with the champion set to be decided 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 have had the rare opportunity to work on 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, and protocol, the volunteers have been on the front lines, working tirelessly to make sure that everything is in place.
Rajendra Prasad Pani, undersecretary, Sports department of Odisha, 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 and they had their orientation as early as December. It is a challenging job, but they have really excelled at it.”
The tournament has been a great 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, many wish to pursue careers in sports and athletics and undoubtedly their newly acquired knowledge will hold them in good stead for their future prospects, added Pani.
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. We’re grateful for the chance to be a part of something so special and it’s definitely something we’ll never forget. 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.”
As the tournament wraps up, it’s important to recognise the role that these volunteers have played. They have put in countless hours of hard work and dedication to make sure that everything runs smoothly. They have been the unsung heroes of the tournament, and their contributions have not gone unnoticed.