Indian hockey is in great health – the Tokyo Olympics bronze-medal effort is a stark reflection of the massive strides the sport has made both in the men’s and women’s categories. Teams all these years we used to consider as world-beaters – Australia, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain no longer treat us as pushovers and perceive us a threat. The Tokyo bronze was a stamp of approval of Indian hockey taking the serious steps towards retaining its former glory days. Not just as a hockey-playing nation, India is doing its reputation no harm as the organizer of big-ticket FIH tournaments. And when we talk of India as hosts of high-profile tourneys, Odisha – Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneshwar to be precise – has earned all-round praise for successfully hosting big-ticket tourneys.
The sequence of Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneshwar hosting FIH events kickstarted in the year 2014 with the conduct of the Champions Trophy. The Kalinga Stadium had also hosted the 2016-17 Hockey World League. India had earlier organized the 2012-13 and 2014-15 Hockey World League as well. Bhubaneshwar scaled a new high when it hosted the 2018 World Cup, where India had finished 6th and are slated to host the 2023 FIH Men’s World Cup in 2023 at Bhubaneshwar and Rourkela.
With a flurry of big-ticket events behind them, Kalinga Stadium Bhubaneshwar has been awarded the hosting rights of the12th edition of the FIH Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup 2021 Junior Men’s World Cup from November 24 to December 5. The Kalinga Stadium boasts of two newly-laid FIH certified astroturfs and has a seating capacity to 15,000.
Lucknow was also in the running to host the big-ticket event after Guwahati was initially considered as a possible venue. This will be the third consecutive time that India will be hosting the Junior World Cup – the Mandeep Singh-led national side had won the Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup, pipping Belgium 2-1 in the final when the tourney was last held in New Delhi in 2016 at Lucknow. The 2013 edition of the Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup was held at New Delhi, where India had finished a poor 10th among 16 participating teams. The only other time India had won the Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup was in the year 2001 at Hobart, Australia, where the national side overwhelmed Argentina 6-1 in the summit clash.
For the record, Germany have won the Junior World Cup on most occasions – six times, while India have won it twice. Pakistan, Australia, and Argentina have won it once.
|India as Hosts of Big-Ticket Tournaments|
|2012-13 Hockey World League :||New Delhi|
|2013 Junior Men’s World Cup:||New Delhi|
|2014 Men’s Champions Trophy:||Bhubaneshwar|
|2014-15 Men’s Hockey World League:||Raipur|
|2016 Junior Men’s World Cup :||Lucknow|
|2016-17 Men’s Hockey World League:||Bhubaneshwar|
|2018 Men’s World Cup:||Bhubaneshwar|
|2020-21 Pro World League:||Bhubaneshwar|
|2021 Junior Men’s World Cup:||Bhubaneshwar|