The hockey World Cup started on a cheerful notice for India with gamers and coach all smiles after the win in opposition to Spain within the opener. The tip was something however good with India failing to qualify to the quarterfinals and Graham Reid resigning a day after the group’s marketing campaign got here to an finish.
The match won’t have been a hit for India, however off the sector, it made it actually made an impression.
Listed below are a couple of private reflections on the match:
Celebrating hockey, Odisha type
Each Bhubaneswar and Rourkela had been properly decked up for the World Cup. Since each are deliberate cities with vast roads and neatly divided residential sectors, the decorations really regarded good.
Outdoors the Birsa Munda Worldwide Hockey Stadium, the partitions had been painted with the murals of all of the group captains on the World Cup. There have been additionally murals celebrating the tribal id of the world throughout town.
Now, as you method the stadium from Rourkela airport, you may spot a large statue of a hockey participant inside a small park. It did not have a reputation. It was not devoted to any participant. Just a tall statue devoted to the hockey gamers of the area.
A private favorite of this author was a small mural of legendary Dhyan Chand on the doorway of Rourkela railway station.
Internet hosting hockey tournaments is just not new for Odisha. The state authorities pulled out all of the stops to make the occasion a hit — most significantly taking followers under consideration.
Adjoining to each Kalinga and the Birsa Munda stadiums, the organisers put out fan parks, referred to as Olly’s Land — based mostly on the official mascot of the match Olly (Olive Ridley sea turtles). Olly’s Land was an leisure zone for folks of all ages: with fancy lights decorations, occasions held for the children, artists placing on musical exhibits, hockey merchandise on sale, and loads of (scrumptious) native meals. Oh, and there was additionally an enormous display screen displaying the matches.
The target was to supply one thing extra to the informal followers different than simply the game. Particularly contemplating how boring it might have gotten on days the place there have been 4 consecutive matches in a stadium. With Olly Land, spectators had the choice of taking a break and exploring different issues at leisure. All you wanted for entry was the match day ticket.
Particular Hockey World Cup trains – considered one of a sort
To assist the World Cup attain additional than ever, the Indian Railways introduced two particular trains: ranging from Bhubaneswar and Puri to Rourkela. Particular devoted only for one sporting occasion? That is going above and past… that is one thing fairly particular.
The fan-response vindicated the choice: the trains had been an enormous hit with the group, at the least on the match days. Certainly, it was heartening to see folks travelling from locations like Dhenkanal, Sambalpur, Talcher and Angul for even India’s classification matches. The railways has all the time been the first artery that connects the hinterlands of this huge nation: and this time it was used brilliantly to make considered one of India’s previous loves extra accessible to its residents.
Though the practice timings lived as much as the late requirements of the Indian Railways, the journey to the vacation spot was a reasonably snug one.
The oddity of the classification stage
A handful of journalists – three, actually – made it to Rourkela earlier than India’s match in opposition to Japan, aiming to speak to the gamers and the coach. A pre-match press convention was a norm for India’s matches, however these norms did not exist for 2 days. No press conferences, no interactions, no questions on India getting knocked out within the crossover stage. Comprehensible? Certain.
On the eve of the match, the gamers steered away from journalists by strolling out of the coaching pitch’s aspect gate. One might nearly assume the bus current outdoors the coaching pitch was a decoy…
The gamers did a good bit of speaking on the pitch, although, as they beat Japan fairly comprehensively. After which Reid and gamers did speak to the media.
They spoke effectively, particularly the senior gamers who remained constructive. In distinction to the beginning of the match although, there have been no smiles. Comprehensible, in fact.
An enormous shout-out to the off-field groups
The Indian nationwide group did not carry out the best way they hoped to however there have been different profitable native groups across the match.
The officers, volunteers, media coordinators, safety personnel, housekeeping workers, caterers, drivers et al labored in tandem to make this World Cup work.
Massive occasions just like the World Cup may be an exhausting expertise for everyone concerned. It reaches some extent the place they’re ready for the match to only finish. There are good days and dangerous days. Perhaps what makes it barely higher is the realisation that they don’t seem to be alone; that they’ve the help of their teammates.
Is not that the true essence of a group?