Kalinga Stadium witnessed a full house during the second pool match of host India with Belgium The match finally ended in a draw (2-2) after the host team conceded a goal in the last minutes.
Holding tricolours fans thronged the stadium much before the start of play and cheered every move of the home team. The crowd remained on their toes after Belgium took the lead and continued to penetrate the Indian defence in the first half. The crowd kept the mobile torches on to encourage the home team.
“The match swung like a pendulum with both the teams dominating in each halves. We could not have asked for a better on field action as both the teams fought till the end. We are optimistic that India will top the points table in the pool stage and advance in to last eight,” said a spectator.
India will play its last pool match against Canada on December 8. The stadium is likely to remain jam-packed during the last pool match as tickets for the match have been sold out much earlier. The match against Canada will be crucial as India has won its first match against South Africa while the second match against Belgium ended in a draw.
On the other hand Belgium had defeated Canada in its first pool match.
Former Indian captain Dilip Tirkey hailed the home team for their never dying spirit. “The team lost the plot on first two quarters and allowed the opposition to dominate. But once the host team started showing better coordination they not only dominated but also took the lead the match despite trailing,” said Tirkey.
The Fan Village is a great hangout place
Meanwhile, the Fan Village set up inside the Kalinga Sports Complex for the ongoing Men’s Hockey World Cup has become a perfect hangout place for visitors. The village set up in an area of 18,000 square meters has been designed to keep visitors engaged in various activities
The activities range from anti-gravity photo booth which lets people click gravity-defying photos in a hockey stadium ambiance while those who wish to take a 360 degree photo can do so at the 360 degree photo booth. Similarly visitors can also watch live screening of matches on a giant screen installed at the village.
The other facilities include trampoline for kids, cycles installed to create a video-game feel of a race, mini hockey turfs with goal posts and eateries. There is also a stall of India Post stamp where visitors can buy the newly-launched stamp for the World Cup along with old stamps for collection.
The organisers have also been conducting quiz programmes for visitors. Visitors can also buy handlooms and sportswear in the village. “The Fan Village has been created keeping in mind all age-groups of hockey lovers coming to watch the matches. The concept has been introduced in the country for the first time and the response has been quite overwhelming,” said chief executive officer of Hockey India Elena Norman.
The Fan Village is spread across two grounds between gates 3 and 4 of Kalinga Stadium and opens at 1pm on match days. Organisers said that people with valid tickets are only allowed to the village. Sports secretary Vishal Dev said that the village had been designed to give spectators a different experience of the tournament. “The idea was to engage fans along with watching level international matches. The village will also give them a fee of sports carnival,” said Dev.
Visitors can be spotted taking photographs in the village while a number of players of participating teams have also been thronging to the village. Similarly a stall of Odisha police in the village displaying sophisticated arms has become a hit among the visitors. “The Fan Village with all sorts of activities is indeed a delight for school students like us. One can also take photographs with the sophisticated arms of the police. The quiz programmes are also very interactive,” said Namrata Das, a schoolchild.