Bhubaneswar: As the city gears up to host the Men’s Hockey World Cup 2018 from November 28, CM Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday inaugurated the new and improved Kalinga Stadium, which over the past few months has received world class upgrades, making it one of the premier destinations for sporting events in the world.
As a part of the inaugural ceremony, hockey legends Dilip Tirkey and Dhanraj Pillay led their respective teams comprising of the current stars of team India who enthralled the fans with an exhibition match. Hockey legend Sandeep Singh was also present providing special match commentary.
The match ended with team Dilip Tirkey edging out team Dhanraj Pillay with score line of 2-1.
In the stadium, both practice and main pitches have been re-laid with new blue turf as per the FIH specification. The stadium capacity has also been increased from 7,500 to 15,000 by adding two new galleries in the north and south ends.
Additionally, the stadium periphery has undergone a complete makeover including the widening of the roads and the entry gate to the stadium, new parking lots have been constructed near the stadium ensuring hassle-free and effective traffic management. Modern facilities including dressing rooms, dining hall, conference hall, media tribune and broadcaster’s room have been added.
A total of 16 nations will take part in the tournament spanning over 19 days. A total of 36 matches will be played. The opening match will be played between Belgium and Canada on November 28. Host India will also take on South Africa on the inaugural day of the tournament. India will play its next two pool matches against Belgium and Canada on December 2 and 8 respectively.