Exhibition Hockey match in Kalinga Stadium today

Bhubaneswar: Sports lovers are in for a surprise as the Odisha government has invited players of New South Wales Institutes of Sport (NSWIS) for exhibition hockey matches with Team Odisha in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela on Thursday and Friday respectively.

These exhibition matches are part of the promotional campaign aimed at whipping up enthusiasm across the state prior to the Hockey Men’s World Cup to be held later this month.

Sports secretary Vishal Dev said he is looking forward to the matches as internationally-acclaimed players would grace the pitch of the state-of-the-art Kalinga Stadium for the first time after its renovation. “Around 10,000 passes have been distributed among sports enthusiasts,” he said.

Sports department officials said the pass system had been introduced to prevent overcrowding of the stadium.

Roshan Minz, captain of Odisha team, said he is really excited about the match with an international team. “Our team has been practising for the matches and we are very hopeful of winning them,” he added.

NSWIS team captain Kurt Lovett said it is going to be fun playing with the local team. “Odisha is very famous for its hockey players and we are all looking forward to a tough and interesting match. It is a great opportunity for our team as well,” he said.

The main grounds at the Kalinga Stadium were re-laid in accordance with International Hockey Federation guidelines for the World Cup, scheduled to be held from November 2.

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