FIH Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup Kicks Off In Bhubaneswar Today
Odisha’s capital city Bhubaneswar is set to host the FIH Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup at Kalinga Stadium starting today. Displaying the flags of the participating nations, the stadium is ready for the inaugural ceremony.
Followed by the ceremony, Belgium and South Africa will go head to head in the opening encounter. India and France will also face each other on the first day of the tournament that will go on till December 5.
A total of 16 countries are participating in the tournament. Pool A consists of Belgium, Chile, Malaysia, and South Africa. India is in Pool B with Canada, France, and Poland. South Korea, Netherlands, Spain, and the US make up Pool C. Finally, pool D has Pakistan, Argentina, Egypt, and Germany.
All players and officials will be undergoing RT-PCR tests every 72 hours. About 500 tests will be conducted daily and same-day reports will be generated by ICMR’s Regional Medical Research Centre.
The Pakistani Hockey team has come to India for the first time since 2018. The last time India’s neighbours crossed borders was for the senior World Cup in 2018.
Notably, Odisha is the national team’s title sponsor. They also hosted the senior World Cup in 2018, the FIH World League in 2017, and the Champions Trophy in 2014. Earlier, Lucknow hosted the tournament’s 2016 edition, during which India emerged as the champions.
“It is short notice for making arrangements for such an event, especially during the pandemic period. However, since the country’s prestige is at stake, we have readily agreed to host it”, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had said earlier.
Notable teams missing from the tournament include Australia, New Zealand, and England, who did not send their players due to COVID-19 regulations back home.