BHUBANESWAR, June 25 (PTI): International Hockey Federation (FIH) events director Gabrielle van Zwieten on Monday embarked on a two-day visit here to ensure that the preparations are up to speed in the lead up to the Hockey Men’s World Cup to be held in November.
Accompanied by Hockey India officials, Gabrielle had extensive meetings with Vishal K Dev, commissioner-cum-secretary to Department of Youth Services and Sports and representatives from various departments of Odisha government to discuss the overall progress of work.
The day long proceedings also included the 5th Executive Committee Meeting for organisation of the World Cup chaired by Aditya Prasad Padhi, chief secretary and chief development commissioner of Odisha government.
Gabrielle will visit the remaining facilities on Tuesday to check the preparedness to host the International teams.
“I am delighted with the progress of work here at the Kalinga Stadium and I am quite confident the venue will be ready well within the stipulated time,” she said.
“The keenness of the Odisha Govt and Hockey India to deliver to perfection and leave no stone unturned in their preparations to host the biggest hockey event is worth a mention and I am confident the hockey fraternity will witness a spectacular event starting this November.”
The infrastructural work at the iconic Kalinga Stadium includes the up-gradation of seating capacity to 15,000.
The stadium will also get two brand new pitches. The flood lights at both main pitch and the practice pitch too have been upgraded while the entire main stadium is being given a face-lift with wider roads, new gates, permanent CCTV cameras for safety point of view.
A total of 36 matches will be played during the Hockey World Cup which opens with a clash between world no. 3 Belgium and world no. 11 Canada on November 28. Hosts India will also open their campaign on the same day as they face South Africa.
The hosts will also be in action on December 2 when they play a strong Belgium team whom they defeated in the quarter-finals of the Hockey World League Final at the same venue. India’s third and final pool match will be against Canada on December 8.
The sixteen participating teams will play three matches each during the league stage over the span of twelve days before four cross-over matches take place on December 10 and 11.