There is festive ambience in every nook and corner of Odisha these days especially in the state capital Bhubaneswar. Understandably so as the state capital is hosting the prestigious hockey World Cup from November 28 to December 16.
No stone has been left unturned to stage a memorable competition. The meticulous manner in which the agencies involved in the conduct of the event headed none other than the Chief Minister Mr. Navin Patnaik there is no doubt that the event will be a glorious success boosting the sports and cultural ethos of Odisha.
The Kalinga Stadium which will be main theatre for displaying excellence and exhibition of proficiency for the 16 teams in the fray looks immaculate every inch, featuring the best of gadgets required to host a genuine five-star international competition. By hosting the Champions Trophy and other important tournaments in the last three years Odisha has acquired a lot of expertise to fulfil the norms of staging an international tie in a professional manner.
Off the field activities and protocols connected with the event are proceeding without a hitch. The logo and the mascot are already in place and world cup song rendered by the renowned singer Sukh Singh was released a few days ago. Marketing the event is said to be in expert hands and the tickets are on sale both here and abroad through online.
Much water has flowed down the bridge since the launch of the World Cup in 1971 at Barcelona. The event had go through a tough time before the ball rolled on the turf at Terrassa.
Pakistan which proposed the event could not host the inaugural edition owing to political upheaval and left the matter to be sorted out by the FIH. A search for a new venue was launched and Spain came forward to save the event and agreed hold it at Barcelona in 1971.
Pakistan managed to win the handsome trophy beating the home team 1-0. India missed the trophy by a whisker in the next edition at Amstelveen in the tie breaker against the Netherlands in the final. But India triumphed in Kuala Lumpur in 1975 beating Pakistan in a pulsating final. The match winner was scored by Ashok Kumar to help India win 2-1.
World Cup moved on to anew stage of excellence in 1986 in Willesden (London) where the Aussies established themselves as a formidable force. The moment triggered the glittering phase for Australia which continue up to this moment.
India is hosting the event for the third time, the first being in 1982 at Mumbai and the second one in 2010 in New Delhi.
How well will Bhubaneswar acquit itself in this major task is bound to be watched with keen interest by the hockey fraternity.