Bhubaneswar, the city of temples which was nowhere on the sports map of India, has now become a preferred destination for Indian athletes wishing to prepare for national and international sporting events.
Apart from hosting several mega sporting events like the Men’s Hockey World Cup in 2018 and the Asian Championships in Athletics in 2017, the iconic Kalinga Stadium plays a pivotal role in preparing athletes for mega sporting events .
The Kalinga Stadium located in the heart of Bhubaneswar is now recognized as one of the best sports centers in India for its world-class infrastructure and facilities.
The city has successfully hosted nearly a dozen international hockey tournaments and several other sporting events over the past five years and is ready to host the 2023 World Cup of Hockey.
People’s love for hockey and world-class infrastructure have made the city the birthplace of the sport. However, it is not limited to hockey alone, as rugby, swimming and football are also the key disciplines that are cultivated here.
Thanks to this model, Odisha has grown and evolved into a sports center and is the preferred destination of different federations. National and international athletes spoke about Odisha’s sports ecosystem.
In 2018, just before the Men’s Hockey World Cup, Odisha took the initiative to support and sponsor the men’s and women’s national hockey teams for five years, and the result was seen at the Tokyo Olympics.
After four decades, the Indian men’s team won a medal (bronze), while the women’s team achieved a historic fourth place.
There was euphoria in the country and it was a matter of pride that Odisha had played a significant role in the revival of Indian hockey. After the Olympics, Odisha extended its support for Indian hockey for another 10 years.
Odisha is also the only state to set up a bunch of high performance centers in the stadium in disciplines such as hockey, swimming, football, athletics, weightlifting, sports science and badminton, in partnership with leading companies like Tata Group, JSW Sports, Dependency among others.
Odisha continues to transform its sports landscape, thereby empowering its athletes. It has created a defined talent identification pathway for their transition from grassroots to elite level. Coupled with a myriad of social arrangements, financial support and sports infrastructure allow them to stay focused on their sporting journey.
The Sports Science Centers at Kalinga Stadium, which include Abhinav Bindra Targeting Performance Center and Khelo India State Center of Excellence, are equipped with high-end machinery and run by a team of professionals to help analyze and maximize performance and endurance. athletes, both national and international.
Currently, the High Performance Centers (CHP) for Hockey, Swimming, Football, Weightlifting, Shooting, Athletics and Sports Science are operational and the badminton HPC will be completed in the coming months. In addition, the work of the Center of Excellence in Sports Management is also in full swing.
As part of the Kalinga Stadium expansion plan, five projects are being built, which include a standard Davis Cup tennis court, a high-performance hockey center, an aquatics center, the first indoor sports center in India and staff accommodation.
The Biju Patnaik Aquatic Complex at Kalinga Stadium successfully hosted the National Junior Aquatic Championships. It also hosted the national water polo camp in which the Serbian national team engaged in friendly matches. Once the Aquatics Center becomes operational later this year, it will be a hub to prepare India’s swimming champions.
Asmita Barla, Captain of the Odisha Senior Women’s Hockey Team, said, “The government of Odisha has created a wonderful sports environment both at state and district level. We get to reside at Kalinga Stadium Youth Hostel and train under expert coaches.
“With new infrastructure for hockey coming, especially in Sundargarh and Bhubaneswar, we are sure to have more players from the state representing the country.”
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