We do contradict ourselves right from the start by saying this, but not only every Odia, but all Indians should be proud of the iconic Kalinga Stadium. The multi-functional sports hub is the jewel of Odisha in terms of sport stadiums. But what makes it so special?
Kalinga stadium sits dab smack in the middle of the state capital. Its a mere 10 minute ride from the International Airport. This unique oasis in the rapidly developing metropolis that is Bhubaneswar, allows both locals and visiting teams to utilize the complex to its maximum extent.
Kalinga Stadium is renowned as a multi-functional sports hub. This grand stadium hosts many diverse sporting facilities such as Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Tennis, Table Tennis, Swimming, all climbing and Field Hockey. These facilities have been used by many of the state’s talents to train and set records. World class athletes like Srabani Nanda, Debasis Mohanty, Dutee Chand, and many more have had their humbling beginnings right on these grounds. The facilities also provide an opportunity for non-professionals to learn a new sport.
Firstly, the stadium includes an 8-lane synthetic athletics track. Then there’s a gymnasium for athletes along with a swimming pool. It facilitated India’s first brand-new pink and blue hockey turf. And this turf fulfills the benchmark of Olympic standards, which is indeed commendable. The main stadium can hold 50,000 spectators at a time while the hockey stadium has a seating capacity of 16,000. Above all, there is a multi-disciplinary facility comprising high-performance centres. The elite-level athletes train themselves and practice in these high-performance centres.
The foundation of the stadium was placed in the year 1978, by the legendary Mr. Biju Patnaik. Different parts of the stadium were gradually built and the establishment was finally completed in the year 2010. While preparing for the 14th edition of Men’s Hockey World Cup 2018, the state government upgraded the facilities. The prime objective was to render quality infrastructure to the athletes and spectators. This impetus helped transform the stadium to international standards.
Major Events and Matches
Kalinga Stadium has successfully hosted loads of vital sports events ranging from state-level matches, national events to international tournaments. While state and national level tournaments were still common, the Staidum proved its mettle when it stated hosting major international events such as the Asian Athletics Championship of 2017 and the Women’s Football Gold Cup in 2019. It was also scheduled to host the two major upcoming events of 2020: the FIFA World Cup Qualifier – AFC Second Round & FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
One of the proudest moment was when it organized the 2018 Men’s Hockey World Cup. 16 teams from around the globe participated in the tournament. People packed the stadium to the rafters and supported not only the national team, but also cheered for the international players. The successful hosting of such a prestigious event, transcended Kalinga Stadium from a state treasure to a national pride.
There are countless feathers in the cap for Kalinga Stadium. Most recently, the Indian sports ministry has decided to declare Kalinga Stadium as one of the other eight Khelo India State Centre of Excellence (KISCE). The sports culture in the state has been flourishing ever since the establishment of the stadium. The high-performance centres of the stadium are catering world-class training to the athletes. It has helped Odia sportspersons to achieve laurels by providing living and training facilities, coaches and financial aid while allowing the athletes to concentrate on their craft.
Kalinga Stadium is undoubtedly one of the best sporting facilities of the country and while the pandemic has put a question mark on the future of major sports events, rest assured, when the time comes for hosting the next big tournament, Kalinga Stadium will be ready!
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