Two years from today, India will host the Hockey World Cup for the fourth time. The marquee event will once again take place in the state of Odisha as Bhubaneshwar and Rourkela have been hand-picked to welcome the best hockey talent in the world. The 2023 Hockey World Cup will run from January 13 to 29.
The last time India hosted a World Cup was in 2018 in Bhubaneshwar where its team had to settle for a sixth place finish. A rejuvenated Indian side, will, however, look to bury the past and put their best foot forward in front of a big and enthusiastic home crowd.
As the love for hockey continues to grow in the country, the apex body and Odisha government, all set to host the marquee event. A world-class stadium is being constructed in Rourkela for the 2023 edition of the World Cup. It is designed to hold about 20,000 people, making it the largest hockey stadium in the country in terms of seating capacity.
"The upcoming World Cup is expected to be even bigger than the one in 2018,” Minister for Sports and Youth Services, Odisha Tusharkanti Behera said in a media release.
“It will be a challenge and an opportunity for us to organize the 2023 World Cup in two venues – Bhubaneswar and Rourkela. Since the World Cup in 2018 was held at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar, most of the arrangements are in place in Bhubaneswar, while a new world-class Hockey stadium is being built in Rourkela.”
"World-class infrastructure at both venues will enable Odisha to once again deliver a successful and memorable tournament and leave behind a valuable and lasting legacy," he added.
As India gears up for another edition of the World Cup let us look at what happened in the three previous occasions when India hosted the event:
1982 World Cup (Mumbai)
India hosted the World Cup for the first time in 1982. All the matches in the fifth edition of the Hockey World Cup were played in Bombay, present day Mumbai. The 1982 World Cup was a 12-team event - divided into Pool A and Pool B.
India were drawn with Australia, Netherlands, Soviet Union, England and Malaysia. The hosts finished in third place in the preliminary round behind Australia and Netherlands and did not advance to the semi-finals.
India, however, played the fifth to eighth place classification matches where they finished at the 5th spot. Pakistan defeated West Germany in the finals to emerge champions at the 1982 World Cup. Australia, meanwhile, bagged the third spot.
2010 World Cup (New Delhi)
After a gap of 22 years, India hosted the 12the edition of the Hockey World Cup in the capital city of New Delhi.
The hosts were placed alongside Australia, England, Spain, South Africa and Pakistan in Pool B. Their sub-par performance saw them finish at fourth place and later lose the seventh-place match to end their campaign at the eighth spot.
Australia, became the World Champions for the second time with Germany finishing as runners-up and Netherlands at the third spot.
2018 World Cup (Bhubaneshwar)
Incidentally, one-time World Champion India have never won the marquee tournament, when they have hosted it and the latest setback came in Bhubaneshwar.
The 16-team event saw India being placed alongside Belgium, Canada and South Africa in Pool C. The hosts finished at the top of their pool with two wins from three matches to qualify for the knockouts.
India, however, lost the quarterfinals 1-2 to the Netherlands as their campaign came to a disappointing end. The hosts finished at the sixth spot with Belgium capturing their maiden World title.