Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar (Photo: Odisha Sports Department)
Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar (Photo: Odisha Sports Department)

Hockey Men's Junior WC: Challenging yet elating experience for players

ANI | Updated: Nov 15, 2021 17:17 IST

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], November 15 (ANI): With less than two weeks to go, the 18 members of the Indian junior team has been announced with Vivek Prasad Sagar as captain. Coach Graham Reid who led the senior team to win their Olympic bronze at Tokyo recently is overseeing the team's training at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar.
The stakes are high and the teams are striving hard to defend their champion's title. Most of the teams will begin to arrive this week. Soon, Kalinga Stadium will witness 16 hockey teams, some of the finest in the world, battle it out for the coveted Junior World Cup trophy.
Given Odisha's experience and expertise in hosting the Hockey World Cup in 2018 and subsequent international hockey events and its world-class infrastructure and allied facilities in place, Odisha was chosen as a preferred venue to host the 12th edition of the Hockey Men's Junior World Cup from November 24 to December 5.
"Not just the infrastructure, the processes for the successful conduct of an event are also in place, in the state. So, be it in a few years or a few months, Odisha Government departments and agencies have proven to come together and work seamlessly amongst themselves and with federations to host a smooth event and in a timely manner," said Odisha Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera in a statement.

"Asian Athletics Championship of 2017 was exemplary where the state turned around a challenge into an opportunity within 90 days. We had 60 days to host the Hockey Junior World Cup and Odisha is ready to play the perfect host, yet again. The teams will start reaching Bhubaneswar this week and Odisha State Government and Hockey India officials are working together on every aspect of the tournament to ensure the event is conducted in a completely safe and secure environment," he added.
The last Hockey Men's Junior World Cup was held in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, in 2016 and Team India emerged champions defeating mighty Belgium in the finals. After close to five years, the event will be held once again and there is excitement and anticipation.
Each team has faced hurdles to train and accomplish its position for the World Cup during these challenging pandemic times. Each would be looking anxiously to play on this coveted turf which is going to be closed for spectators.
Odisha Hockey Promotion Council Chairman and Hockey legend Dilip Tirkey said, "A new era for hockey has begun and given Odisha's rich hockey connect, it feels deeply committed to the sport. Odisha is hosting the Men's Hockey World Cup in 2023 and hosting the Hockey Men's Junior World Cup adds yet another new beginning in bringing the young and top players from across the world to Odisha, the Global Hub of Hockey. It is the leadership and vision of Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik, like this, that inspires sportspersons of the state to strive even harder."
"Playing in the Junior World Cup and being thrust onto the global stage from a young age can mean all the difference when graduating to the next level. This is the perfect platform for young players to unleash their raw skills onto the international hockey scene. It is a stepping stone for athletes in their development into senior international hockey," he added. (ANI)