Bhubaneswar: With exactly 250 days to go for the FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup to be hosted here and in Rourkela, one of India’s main stalwart Amit Rohidas has said that the team’s preparations are going on ‘smoothly’ in spite of Covid-19 again disrupting the international schedule. India will host the showpiece hockey event from January 13-29, with the top 16 teams in the world competing for the trophy.
“We are back in SAI (Sports Authority of India), Bangalore. The atmosphere here is excellent with six hockey teams currently based out of the same centre. With Covid-19 continuing to disrupt the international hockey calendar, we are taking each day as it comes and don’t want to be worried about things that are not in our control,” said Rohidas, who recently captained the Indian team in a couple of FIH Pro League engagements at home.
“Our preparations are going on smoothly with our focus on improving the areas we felt needed work post the FIH Pro League home games,” the penalty corner specialist added.
Rohidas also spoke about the emotions of the people of Odisha in the build-up to the tournament. “The people of Odisha, particularly those who live in Rourkela and Sundargarh are extremely excited that an event as big as the World Cup is happening in their city,” Rohidas pointed out.
“The craze for hockey in this region is unmatched, and with the biggest stadium in India being developed in Rourkela for hockey, people are counting days to experience a world class event. For us players, it will be great to play in Rourkela and experience this hockey craze,” Rohidas added.
Having produced multiple international hockey stars, Sundargarh district in Odisha has been the hockey nursery of the sport in India. Along with the Kalinga Stadium here, which had hosted the 2018 men’s World Cup, the stadium in Rourkela will be the second venue for the 2023 edition of the World Cup.
“The stadium in Rourkela will be top notch, with the Odisha state government putting in great efforts to complete the work well in time for the World Cup. At the Kalinga Hockey Stadium too, there is upgrade work going on in full swing,” said Gyanendro Ningombam, president, Hockey India (HI).