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FIH Odisha Hockey Men's Junior World Cup declared open; Belgium beat S Africa 5-1 in 1st match

 
Bhubaneswar, Nov 24 (IANS) The much-anticipated FIH Hockey Men's Junior World Cup, which will see 16 top teams from across the globe vie for the title, was declared open by the Governor of Odisha, Ganeshi Lal, here on Wednesday.

The Opening Ceremony at the iconic Kalinga Hockey Stadium also witnessed Minister for Sports & Youth Services Tusharkanti Behera, FIH president Narinder Dhruv Batra, Hockey Promotion Council Odisha chairman Padma Shri Dilip Tirkey, Hockey India chief Gyanendro Ningombam grace the occasion which was held ahead of the hosts and defending Champions India's match against France.

As a token of his appreciation and gratitude, Batra presented the replica of the Junior World Cup trophy to the Governor.

Wishing all the participating teams the very best for their campaign at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men's Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021, the Governor said, "I am extremely happy that Odisha got this opportunity to host this showpiece event. Odisha has a deep connection with Hockey. Over the years the Sports has evolved in the country and Odisha has been a preferred hub for hockey."

"Odisha has hosted the FIH Men's Hockey World Cup in 2018 and will do so again in 2023 and it gives me immense delight that today we are hosting the Junior World Cup in Odisha, India and I congratulate each and every player who has reached this stage. It is a matter of great pride for their country too and we are happy to be hosting you all. I am pleased to welcome all participants to India for the FIH Hockey Men's Junior World Cup 2021. I would like to extend a special welcome especially to those international guests, who are visiting India for their first time." he added.

Gyanendro said, "We are absolutely delighted that the hockey festivities have returned to Odisha, a state which is highly respected world over for their incredible ability to host world-class sporting events in the state. This is one of the biggest events in the international hockey calendar and we are ever-thankful to the Government of Odisha who have always extended their support to our sport."

"We are also grateful to his Excellency Mr Ganeshi Lal, Governor of Odisha who graced the opening ceremony and declared the prestigious tournament open," he expressed.

The Opening Ceremony also included all 16 captains from the participating teams taking a photo along with the coveted trophy. Earlier in the day, there were exciting matches played out. While Belgium beat South Africa 5-1 in their first Pool A game, Germany got the better of Pakistan as they defeated them 5-2 in their Pool D match and Canada lost to Poland 0-1 in their first Pool B game.

--IANS
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