FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup: Navin Patnaik inaugurates Rourkela Stadium as JIO launches true 5G in Bhubaneswar

Odisha is on inauguration spree: Rourkela gets new stadium and Bhubaneswar gets on 5G network

Team Parvasi – Inside

When Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the world’s largest Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela on Thursday (January 5) he set the ball rolling for the start of the FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023. Some of the participating teams, including the Netherlands and Chile, have already landed in Odisha for the 15th edition of the FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup starting on January 13.

January 5 would also go down in the annals of this Temple City as a special telecommunication day as it joined a select band of Indian cities to have true G5 connectivity. Other than Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, is also on G5 map now. The G5 connectivity has come just eight days before the start of the FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup.

The new hockey facility at Rourkela, completed in a record period of 15 months, has a capacity of 20,000, besides a practice centre and a recovery centre. It meets all the requirements of the International Hockey Federation (FIH). In addition to the ultra-modern Stadium, it has a World Cup village with 225 rooms so that participating teams do not have to travel long distances either for practice or their matches.

To commemorate the occasion, the Odisha government inserted full page advertisements in major national and regional newspapers.

Of late, Odisha has become the home of Indian hockey. It has a long tradition of producing good hockey players, including some tribals.

Now that the 15th edition of the World Cup, third in India during the past 13 years, is all set to start next week, hockey fever has  already gripped Odisha.

Odisha’s relationship with hockey dates back several decades. The mineral-rich state has produced over a hundred national players for the Indian teams. They include Dilip  Tirkey, the current President of Hockey India, besides  Ignace Tirkey, who looks after the Services Hockey team based in Jalandhar. Other than them are Lazarus Barla, Jyoti Sunita Kullu, Sunita Lakra besides many others who have donned colours. The current Indian men’s and women’s national squads also include many Odisha players including Amit Rohidas, Shilanand Lakra, Deep Grace Ekka, Nilam Xess and Namita Toppo.

The Sundergarh district, a hotbed for hockey in Odisha, is well known for the “Khasi Cup”, started in the late 1980s in which villages compete against each other. Hockey in Odisha got a major boost in 1977, when Michael Kindo, a Jharkhand native who was part of the World Cup-winning Indian team from the 1975 World Cup, joined the SAIL Steel team in Rourkela and became its captain and then chief coach of SAIL hockey academy. Under his leadership, Odisha qualified for the semi-finals of the 1979 and 1980 men’s hockey nationals for the first and second time ever, giving hockey a profound lift in Odisha, whose effects are still being felt today.

In 1982, Peter Tirkey became the first player from Odisha to be selected for the national men’s junior team, and played in the junior boys World Cup. This prompted the Odisha government to establish the state-run Panposh sports hostel near Rourkela in 1985, and seven years later, the Sports Authority of India and SAIL set up hockey academies in Sundargarh and Rourkela. Odisha hasn’t looked back since then and its investment in hockey has led to national and international recognition for players from the state.

Over the past two decades the Odisha state government has also actively and heavily invested in international hockey, hosting various large scale multi-nation events like the FIH Hockey World Cup, FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup, FIH Series Finals, FIH World League, FIH Champions Trophy and the FIH Hockey Pro League.

The Kalinga Stadium, situated in Bhubaneswar  is one of the two venues for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023. The stadium gets its name “Kalinga” from the historical region in the east of India of the same name, that encompassed the modern day state of Odisha in entirety, along with parts of two other Indian states: Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The Kalinga Hockey Stadium is a part of the multi-purpose complex collectively referred to as Kalinga International Stadium, which also includes an 8-lane synthetic athletics track, various high performance centres, a football stadium, an Olympic swimming facility and plenty more. It currently houses resources for athletics, football, hockey, tennis, table tennis, basketball, volleyball, sport climbing and swimming.

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Bhubaneswar is the largest city in the state of Odisha, India. It is the capital of Odisha and houses all the important state legislative structures. It is better known as the “Temple City” – a nom-de-plume earned because of the 700 temples which once stood here. It still boasts of a cluster of magnificent temples, constituting virtually a complete record of Kalinga architecture almost from its nascence to its culmination. The citizens of Bhubaneswar are well-known in the hockey world for the vast numbers they turn out in for the international hockey matches hosted in the city. For many players from various hockey playing nations, Bhubaneswar has become their favourite hockey destination  due to its sporting crowds.

The Kalinga Hockey Stadium has become a global hub of hockey for nearly a decade. It hosted its first major international tournament when it organised the Champions Trophy in 2014. The success of the event prompted further action as the 2017 Hockey World League Finals saw the best 8 teams in the world converge in Odisha to play in front of packed audiences. A year later the Kalinga Stadium took centre stage once again as the premier men’s hockey tournament: the FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup, was played here. Since then, the Kalinga Stadium has been the home of the Indian hockey team, with not only the men’s and women’s teams training in the stadium, but it is also where they have played their home matches during the FIH Hockey Pro League. In 2021, the FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup was also played at the Kalinga Stadium.

 The Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium, based in the industrial city of Rourkela in the western part of the state of Odisha, is one of the two venues for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023. The stadium is named after Birsa Munda, a Indian tribal freedom fighter, and folk hero who spearheaded a tribal religious millenarian movement that arose in the Bengal Presidency in the late 19th century, making him an important figure in the history of the Indian independence movement.

Rourkela is one of the biggest cities in the state of Odisha, well known for being home to various industrial establishments, specifically large scale steel and mineral industries. The city also occupies a central position in the Sundargarh district, in the eastern hockey belt of the state of Odisha, that has produced scores of top hockey talents for India, including the former Indian skipper Dilip Tirkey, who is the most capped player in the history of Indian men’s hockey, and currently serves as the president of Hockey India. The new stadium is expected to provide a much-needed boost to the hockey infrastructure in the district, paving the way for future stars who can get access to international standard facilities within their own region.

The Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium is built on 15 acres of land at the Biju Patnaik University of Technology campus in Rourkela, which is often referred to as the “Steel City of Odisha”. The stadium will now replace the Kalinga Hockey Stadium as the largest stadium in Odisha, with its seating capacity of 21,000.

While Chief Minister was inaugurating the new Stadium in Rourkela, the Union Minister of Communications, Electronics & IT, Railways,  Ashwini Vaishnaw,  launches Jio True 5G in Odisha

Temple-city Bhubaneswar & Silver-city Cuttack have thus become the first Jio True 5G cities in Odisha. Similar services would be launched in five more cities in Odisha by end of next month.

  At a special event in Bhubaneswar, marking the inauguration of 5G services in Odisha, Jio created a unique True 5G experience zone and demonstrated the immersive benefits of 5G in the field of healthcare, through Jio community clinic medical kit, education, cloud gaming, smart office, smart city and the revolutionary AR-VR device, Jio Glass. These benefits will bring transformational changes to the lives of people in Odisha. Reliance Jio and Bhubaneswar-based SOA University also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on building a 5G-lab and collaboration on relevant use-cases.

Reliance says in a statement that Jio True 5G will be a game changer for Bhubaneswar, which has a large student population and is regarded as the IT hub of the East, as this will usher in a plethora of opportunities and enriched experiences both for the citizens as well as visitors to the city. Jio’s True 5G Data is getting launched at an apt time in Bhubaneswar, the fast-emerging sports capital of India as it gears up to host FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup in the next few days. Similarly, users in the 1,000-year-old historic city of Cuttack will now access Data on the next-gen Jio True 5G network.

Jio Spokesperson said, “We are thrilled to launch Jio True 5G services in Odisha with the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. Soon, the True 5G network will expand rapidly across the length and breadth of Odisha, covering the cities of Rourkela, Berhampur, Puri, Sambalpur, and Balasore in Odisha by February 2023 and reach to every tehsil and taluk of Odisha by December 2023.”

Prabhjot Singh

NEWS

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