‘Chak de’ moment – Hockey WC cements Bhubaneswar’s sports capital tag

by Subhechcha Ganguly

Who could think that hockey is capable of generating such a euphoric response nationwide?

Over the last decades, it is cricket that has made sports fans hysterical and dominated the narrative. Sports lovers in India have sworn by cricket. But the equations started tilting in favour of hockey, the national game after the Odisha government volunteered to sponsor the Men’s and Women’s hockey teams. Odisha went one-up on its passion and commitment when it announced its decision to host the Hockey World Cup 2023. Apart from giving a major facelift to the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, the state government readied a world-class stadium in Rourkela, the cradle of hockey. Rourkela that has produced hockey stalwarts of international renown like Dilip Tirkey and Ignace Tirkey, has shot to the limelight after playing co-host alongside Bhubaneswar.

The ongoing Hockey World Cup is a testament to Odisha’s unstinted commitment to promoting sports and Bhubaneswar’s emergence as the sports capital. Stadiums filled to capacity, the city lit up by gala fests to regale the resident and inbound visitors and the overwhelming endorsement by international visitors who have loved the spectacle and also touched by the warmth and hospitality of Odisha attest to Bhubaneswar’s credentials as the sports hub. Hockey has ceased to be just a sport, it now embodies the Odia emotion and pride. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that hockey has catapulted Odisha to the international sports pantheon. Locals here are celebrating their ‘Chak de’ moment. The nation, too, has joined them in their revelry.

In recent years, the Indian city of Bhubaneswar has emerged as a sports capital, hosting a wide variety of sporting events and drawing athletes from around the world. It began with the Asian Athletics Championships in 2017, which was the first international event held in the city. Since then, Bhubaneswar has hosted numerous prestigious tournaments, including the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the Men’s Hockey World Cup and the Indian Super League.

The city has also become a hub for national and international sports stars, with numerous athletes, coaches and officials making Bhubaneswar their home. The city’s infrastructure, particularly its modern sports infrastructure, has been a major factor in its success. It has a number of world-class stadiums, including the Kalinga Stadium, an indoor stadium and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. In addition, Bhubaneswar has numerous training academies and fitness centres, making it an ideal destination for athletes looking to hone their skills.

Bhubaneswar’s emergence as a sports capital has been a boon for the city. It has helped to boost the local economy, create jobs and attract tourists. It has also provided a platform for the city’s talented athletes to showcase their skills and compete at the highest levels. Bhubaneswar’s transformation into a sports capital is a testament to the city’s ambition and potential, and it is sure to be a major player in the world of sports for years to come.

In the coming years, Bhubaneswar is likely to become the preferred destination for events such as the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, as well as for major international sports tournaments. The city’s development as a major sports hub will be further enhanced by the establishment of the Indian Institute of Sports Science and Technology, which is set to open in 2021. This institute will provide top-notch sports-specific training and education to athletes of all levels, while also hosting major events and activities.

The city’s sports culture is also likely to benefit from additional support from the government, including the provision of grants and subsidies for the development of sports infrastructure. With the assistance of the government, Bhubaneswar could become the home of various national and international sports academies, and the focal point of India’s sports industry.

In addition, the city of Bhubaneswar is also likely to witness a significant rise in sports tourism, with visitors from around the world attracted by its vibrant sporting culture and world-class infrastructure. With this increased flow of visitors, Bhubaneswar’s economy is likely to get a major boost, as the city’s hotels, restaurants and other commercial establishments become more vibrant and profitable.

Ultimately, the future of Bhubaneswar as India’s sports capital looks incredibly bright. With its commitment to excellence and its rapidly developing infrastructure, the city is well-poised to become a major player in India’s sports industry and a major global hub of excellence.

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