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May date for second turf

- Eye on Champions Trophy matches

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 23: The state sports and youth services department has expedited construction of second synthetic turf at Kalinga Sports Complex, after successfully hosting Kalinga Lancers in the second edition of Hockey India League.

While ground-levelling work is in its final stage, sports officials hope construction of the second practice turf would be completed much before the Champions Trophy, which is scheduled to begin from December 13.

Bhubaneswar will host the tournament in which eight countries, including India, will take part.

“The turf would reach Bhubaneswar this week and the construction would be completed by end of May. Apart from the second turf, a lawn would also be there for players to warm up,” said an official of the sports and youth services department.

Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation has been entrusted with the job of laying the synthetic turf. The second turf would be fitted with sprinkler and drainage systems.

Parking lots would also be set up in the area to accommodate vehicles during the Champions Trophy.

A temporary stand will also be set up during the Champions Trophy matches in the city.

However, sports department officials are also planning to install floodlights for the second turf and a permanent gallery at the existing stadium in a bid to host matches of the Hockey World Cup.

India is the host country for the 2018 Hockey World Cup.

“For hosting international hockey matches, a stadium must have two turfs. With completion of construction of second turf, the city would be able to emerge as a favourable destination for international matches,” said another official of the department.

The colour of second synthetic surface to be laid inside Kalinga Stadium would be blue for the playing area and pink for the non-playing area. The colour combination would make live telecast of matches more attractive.

The five matches of Hockey India League hosted by the stadium had witnessed thousands of spectators thronging the venue.

Hockey enthusiasts are eagerly to watch matches of the Champions Trophy.

“It was a unique experience of watching the Hockey India League matches in the stadium. The floodlights are also a visual delight. We hope the city residents would be able to watch international matches in the near future,” said Rashmi Ranjan Nayak, a resident of Nayapalli.

“The stadium has brought cheers among both the players and the spectators. But at the same time, the state should look further to host international matches. As players, we are very hopeful that completion of the second turf would brighten our chances to host international matches,” said former national hockey team captain Prabodh Tirkey.