Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of the Indian state of Odisha, has laid the foundation stone for an innovative new hockey stadium, stating it will offer one of the finest fan experiences in the world.

The ceremony took place yesterday (Tuesday), with further plans and renderings revealed for the project. The 20,000-seat stadium is being built for India’s staging of the 2023 Men’s Hockey World Cup, with the venue intended to become the world’s leading facility for field hockey.

The World Cup will be co-hosted by Bhubaneswar and Rourkela, both located in Odisha, with Patnaik initially revealing the plans for the new stadium in the latter city in December. The stadium will be developed at Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT) and will serve as the second venue for the 2023 World Cup alongside Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, which was the sole host when India last staged the competition in 2018.

In laying the foundation stone, Patnaik yesterday said the stadium, which is set to be developed within one year, will be named after renowned freedom fighter Birsa Munda, who died in 1900. “It will set a new benchmark in global stadium design for hockey, offering one of the finest spectator experiences in the world,” said Patnaik, according to Indian news agency PTI.

The stadium in the Sundergarh district of Rourkela is being developed in association with the Hockey India governing body. It intends to become a model for sustainable, functional and cost effective design, with fans to be close to the action on the pitch.

“Sundergarh, which has immense contribution to Indian hockey, bears the true spirit of the national game,” added Patnaik, according to the India Today website. “Hockey is the identity of Sundergarh. The hockey players of Sundergarh have earned fame for the nation. Hockey spirit is in the air and water of Sundergarh.

“It is a matter of pride that India has been selected to host 2023 Men’s Hockey World Cup leaving behind countries like Belgium and Australia.”

The 2023 World Cup will take place from January 13-29 and is intended to tie in with India celebrating 75 years of independence in that year.

Images: Government of Odisha