The new 21,800-capacity Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela staged its first official event on Friday as India’s Hockey World Cup got underway.
The stadium is located in the city of Rourkela, which is co-hosting the tournament alongside Bhubaneswar. The venue is spread across 15 acres and is sharing tournament hosting rights with the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
Two World Cup games were held at Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium on Friday as England defeated Wales 5-0 and host country India recorded a 2-0 win against Spain. The stadium is said to be the largest all-seater hockey venue in the world.
Speaking during a press conference held at the stadium yesterday (Sunday), International Hockey Federation (FIH) president Tayyab Ikram said: “The event is a great success not just because of the stadium being built and the infrastructure that supports the event, but because of the way it is transforming the community in Odisha.
“I have had the opportunity to speak to local people in Rourkela and they wished to thank hockey for how beautiful the coming of the World Cup has made the city. It has created an atmosphere of great festivities and not just that of a hockey tournament.”
Work on the stadium, which has been named after renowned freedom fighter Birsa Munda, commenced in February 2021. The venue was developed in association with Hockey India and intends on becoming a model for sustainable, functional and cost-effective design.
The Hockey World Cup will run until January 29.