ROURKELA: Ahead of the Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023, preparations have begun at Rourkela to host the mega event. International Hockey Federation (FIH) president and sports administrator Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra, Hockey India (HI) chief executive officer (CEO) Elena Norman, Sports and Youth Services Secretary Vishal Dev and IDCO MD officer Sanjay Singh reached Rourkela on Thursday to assess infrastructure and logistic needs.
Earlier on the day, a separate HI team inspected the Biju Patnaik hockey stadium of Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) which is the lone venue in Sundargarh to host matches. The stadium’s expansion for the World Cup has been delayed by several months in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
A high-level team of Odisha Government comprising Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera, Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy and 5T Secretary V Karthikeya Pandian is expected to arrive here on Friday. The top government and HI officials are likely to review the city’s sports and other infrastructure.
SAIL sources informed that among other things, the Biju Patnaik hockey stadium would get an astro-turf practice ground, floodlights, upgradation of changing rooms for players and match officials and extra parking space while seating capacity is likely to be doubled from the existing 15,000. Enough vacant space is available for necessary expansion of the stadium.
Earlier, a joint team of HI and Sports department had insisted on air connectivity, advanced healthcare facility, at least 250 luxurious hotel rooms, high quality stadium, practice ground and beautification of the city as prerequisites for hosting matches of the World Cup.
Commissioner of Rourkela Municipal Corporation Dibyajyoti Parida exuded confidence that all Smart City and beautification projects would be completed much before the world cup. Sources informed that restoration of commercial flight and upgradation of the Ispat General Hospital into super-speciality hospital will be done in a few months while luxury additions of existing hotels would also be carried out.
After hosting the World Cup in 2018, Bhubaneswar would again hold the prestigious event scheduled from January 13 to 29 next year. While the State Capital would be the principal venue, Rourkela for the first time has been chosen as the second venue.