Bhubaneswar: The much-anticipated FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021, which will see 16 top teams from across the globe vie for the title, was declared open by Ganeshi Lal, Governor of Odisha.
The Opening Ceremony held on Wednesday here at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium, which has previously hosted marquee events like the FIH Men’s World Cup in 2018, also witnessed Tusharkanti Behera, Minister for Sports and Youth Services, Govt of Odisha, Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra, President FIH, Padma Shri Dr Dilip Tirkey, Chairman, Hockey Promotion Council Odisha, Gyanendro Ningombam, President, Hockey India and Rajinder Singh, Secretary-General, Hockey India.
As a token of his appreciation and gratitude, Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra, President, FIH presented the replica of the Junior World Cup trophy to Ganeshi Lal.
“I am extremely happy that Odisha got this opportunity to host this showpiece event. Odisha has a deep connect with Hockey. Over the years the Sports has evolved in the country and Odisha has been a preferred hub for hockey,” said Lal.
“Odisha has hosted the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup in 2018 and will do so again in 2023 and it gives me immense delight that today we are hosting the Junior World Cup in Odisha, India and I congratulate each and every player who has reached this stage. It is a matter of great pride for their country too and we are happy to be hosting you all. I am pleased to welcome all participants India for the FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup 2021. I would like to extend a special welcome especially to those international guests, who are visiting India for their first time.” he added.
Thanking the Governor for extending his support to the event, Gyanendro Ningombam, President of Hockey India said: “We are absolutely delighted that the hockey festivities have returned to Odisha, a state which is highly respected world over for their incredible ability to host world-class sporting events in the state. This is one of the biggest events in the international hockey calendar and we are ever-thankful to the Government of Odisha who have always extended their support to our sport.”
The Opening Ceremony, which saw fireworks lighting up the night sky of Bhubaneswar, also included all 16 Captains from the participating teams taking a photo along with the coveted trophy. Earlier in the day, there were exciting matches played out. While Belgium beat South Africa 5-1 in their first Pool A game, Germany got the better of Pakistan as they defeated them 5-2 in their Pool D match and Canada lost to Poland 0-1 in their first Pool B game.