Hockey India on Thursday announced the commencement of ticket sales for the FIH World Cup Bhubaneswar-Rourkela, marking the 50-day countdown milestone and giving the sport's fans around the world an opportunity to secure their seats to witness the action in Odisha.
The event, scheduled to be held from January 13-29 next year will witness 16 teams slug it out for the coveted trophy. The event will be held at the iconic Kalinga Hockey Stadium and the newly-built Birsa Munda Stadium in Rourkela.
On the occasion, Hockey India president, Dilip Tirkey, said, "The final preparations for the World Cup are underway. We are eagerly waiting to welcome all the participating teams and hockey lovers from around the globe to be part of this historic event.
"The Odisha Government yet again has set a new global standard by providing an incredible venue like the Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium in Rourkela which is the heart of Odisha's hockey belt and features state-of-the-art facilities including more than 20,000-seating capacity. With two venues being used this time, the event is certainly going to be bigger and more exciting than any other hockey tournament," he added.
The Birsa Munda Stadium will host its first-ever hockey match on the tournament's opening day, with England taking on Wales on January 13. This match will be followed by India squaring off against Spain in their campaign opener.
In Bhubaneswar, former Olympic champions Argentina will take on South Africa while world No.1 Australia will play France.
Ace drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh, currently leading the Indian side in a five-match preparatory series against Australia, reflected his team's excitement as the ticket sales opened for the public.
"It was a full house in Bhubaneswar during the FIH Pro League matches, we played in front of our fans after almost two years, and it was a great experience. We are looking forward to playing in front of them during the World Cup at a brand-new stadium in Rourkela where we open our campaign and will be playing there for the first time. We can't wait to be in Rourkela and see the world-class infrastructure that has been built by the Odisha Government.
"We are fortunate that we have got the opportunity to play an event like the World Cup in front of our home crowd for the second consecutive time. We will give our best, and hopefully make it a tournament to remember," he added.