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Hockey World Cup: BTS fans shower Korea with ‘home support’

Studies can wait, students spread cheer for visiting team
Saanvi Das, a Class VIII student of Unit 8 DAV School, cheers Korea on during their FIH World Cup crossover match against Argentina at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Monday.
Saanvi Das, a Class VIII student of Unit 8 DAV School, cheers Korea on during their FIH World Cup crossover match against Argentina at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Monday.
Ashwinee Pati

Subhashish Mohanty   |   Bhubaneswar   |   Published 25.01.23, 05:05 AM

India were knocked out of the World Cup on Sunday but support at the stadiums hasn’t taken a hit, especially if it’s the Korea matches... all thanks to BTS. 

Love among schoolchildren for the seven-member K-Pop boy band, whose group activities are currently on pause, has turned out to be a blessing for the Korean team playing in a foreign land. They are never shot on support, as Saanvi Das, a Class VIII student, among others, would affirm. 

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“We love BTS and as they are from Korea, we love Korea. That’s the reason I love the Korean team,” she said during Monday’s Korea-Argentina crossover match at the Kalinga Stadium here.     

Following India’s exit from the tournament, few expected a packed stadium for the match. But belying everyone’s expectations, thousands, especially teenagers, turned up to cheer on ‘their’ favourite while the slightly older spectators supported Argentina.

Banking on the crowd support, Korea beat the strong Argentina side 3-2 in the shootout after the teams were locked 5-5 at the end of regulation time.  

The euphoria among the younger lot was noticeable when Korea had possession and penetrated the D circle. Loud cheers filled the stadium as they got a penalty corner, while a hush fell as the team prepared for the shot. On scoring a goal, the stadium reverberated with shouts of “Korea Korea Korea” as the teenagers — who even were able to identify the players — danced and exhibited their support.

“I didn’t want to miss the Korea match. I will pray for the team,” Saanvi, who studies in Unit 8 DAV School, added after the crossover win. 

Korea will next face the Netherlands on Wednesday.

There were more supporters like Saanvi at the Kalinga Stadium. One of them, Class X student Aditi Mohanty, said: “As BTS are from Korea, we have no choice but to support the Korean team.

“BTS reflects raw emotions. My mother always fights me when I watch BTS videos at home on my father’s mobile phone... The Koreans outplayed Argentina. God has answered our prayers and we will continue to support the team. We want Korea to lift the World Cup.”

All the young BTS fans are more than aware of Love Yourself: Answer, Dynamite and Savage Love, but their parents and teachers are hardly impressed. 

“The Class X boards are almost here, they start on February 27 but the children are busy watching BTS videos. Now they are after us to bring them to watch Korea’s matches. My niece, a Class X student, and my daughters now want me to get tickets for the quarter-final game,” said mother-of-two Uma Patnaik.

But while schools and families are not happy, the Odisha government has acknowledged the love for K-Pop this World Cup. They got the K-Pop girl band Blackswan to perform at the inaugural ceremony at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on January 11.



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