World Cup Hockey: How Odisha Bagged Unique Right To Host Back-To-Back Editions
Bhubaneswar: Odisha is not only the ‘mecca’ of Indian hockey, it’s emerging as a hotspot of world hockey as well.
Ever since hosting the 14th edition of the FIH Men’s World Cup in November-December 2018, Odisha has been promoting hockey pro-actively.
Besides the Naveen Patnaik-helmed state government’s Rs 100-crore deal with Hockey India to sponsor the national men’s and women’s teams, Odisha has staged multiple international meets like the FIH Men’s Series finals in June 2019, Olympic Hockey qualifiers in 2019, FIH Pro League in 2020 & 2022, and FIH Junior World Cup in 2021.
And now, the mega event — FIH Men’s World Cup — is back in the state for its 15th edition.
It’s history in the making as for the first time since the inception of World Cup 42 years ago, consecutive editions of the tournament are being held in the same country and state.
It was way back in 2013 that the International Hockey Federation (FIH) published the event assignment process document for the 2018 event. India were among 5 countries shortlisted as candidates for hosting the event. Belgium were ruled out as they didn’t submit bidding documentation within deadline.
A month before the election of host country, Australia withdrew their application due to technical and financial reasons.
India were announced as host during a special ceremony in Lausanne on 7 November 2013, ahead of Malaysia and New Zealand.
Odisha expressed their interest, and it was in early 2017 that FIH confirmed Bhubaneswar as the hosting city.
Soon after the 2018 World Cup ended, FIH announced that the next edition of the tournament will be held in July 2022 or January 2023.
There were three final bids after Germany and Spain withdrew.
Belgium and Malaysia wanted to stage the World Cup in the July 1-17, 2022 window, while India preferred the time window of January 13-29, 2023.
FIH declared India as the host of 15th World Cup in November 2019.
Odisha, having already established itself as the hub of Indian hockey, was a clear ‘winner’ this time.
CM Naveen Patnaik chose November 27, 2019 – the first anniversary of the start of 2018 World Cup in Bhubaneswar – to announce that the next edition will be held at Bhubaneswar and Rourkela in January 2023.