Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday inaugurated the new look of Kalinga Stadium ahead of Men’s Hockey World Cup 2018 to be played in November-December this year.
Kalinga Stadium has received world-class upgrades, making it one of the premier destinations for sporting events in the world.
As a part of the inaugural ceremony, hockey legends Dilip Tirkey and Dhanraj Pillay led their respective teams comprising of the current stars of team India who enthralled fans with an exhibition match.
It was a great opportunity for the younger players to get a chance to play along with their heroes. Hockey legend Sandeep Singh was also present providing special match commentary.
The match ended with team Dilip Tirkey edging out team Dhanraj Pillay with the scoreline of 2-1.
With an aim to provide best of the sports infrastructures, the state government remodelled Kalinga stadium into an international sports complex providing facilities for all kinds of sports and games.
Both practice and main pitches have been re-laid with new blue turf as per the FIH specification. The stadium capacity has also been increased from 7500 to 15000 adding two new galleries in the north and south ends of the stadium for the spectators.
“This is a momentous occasion for all of us in Odisha and we are proud to give India a world-class sporting complex in the form of Kalinga Stadium. We are excited and all set to host the Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup 2018 next month at the Kalinga Stadium. I am confident that it will be one of the many international levels sporting events that will be held in the state,” said the Chief Minister.
Speaking on the occasion, Dilip Tirkey said, “It was a thrilling experience to lead my team in such an entertaining clash. It was a pleasure to play the first match in the Kalinga Stadium, the home of Hockey. The thousands in the crowd created an electric atmosphere helping us players to give our best.”
Commenting on the exhibition match, Dhanraj Pillay said, “Odisha has always been a hotbed for Hockey with the Kalinga Stadium being the home. It was a great first match with Dilip’s team and hope the boys got a good feel of the new turf. I really forward to see the boys go out and put in the performances to get the cup back home this December.”
“With the stadium now officially inaugurated, one can see the commitment and tireless effort that has gone into making the iconic Kalinga Stadium truly one of the best venues for hockey in the world. With increased capacity and comfortable seating arrangement for spectators as well as an upgraded floodlight system among many other key features that have been given a face-lift, we can expect the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup to be an extravagant event and I am sure that hockey fans from across the globe will carry with them great memories from here,” stated Mohd. Mushtaque Ahmad, President, Hockey India.