After travelling across 13 states and one Union territory, the men’s Hockey World Cup trophy Sunday made its way back to Odisha, which is gearing up to host the sporting extravaganza next month. (More Hockey News)
Elaborate security arrangements were made at the Biju Patnaik International Airport here, where officials arrived with the cup around 11:30 am.
Jubilant scenes filled the air, as women and children donning traditional sarees danced to drumbeats.
Crowds waiting on streets near the airport cheered as the trophy was brought outside by Hockey India President Dilip Tirkey and handed over to the state's Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera.
Earlier, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took to Twitter to encourage people of the state to welcome the trophy in a grand manner.
“It is indeed a proud moment for Odisha, as we host the Men's Hockey World Cup for the consecutive time. Let’s all join in the state-wide Trophy Tour being planned across every district of Odisha to celebrate hockey coming home,” he wrote.
Odisha is hosting the prestigious sporting tournament for the second time in a row after 2018. The matches will be played at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium here and the Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium in Rourkela from January 13-29.
“Nowhere in the world is there is a hockey stadium with a seating capacity of 20,000 people. Only Rourkela has built such a massive stadium for the world cup,” Tirkey told PTI.
"It (hosting the world cup) is a proud moment for all of us," he added.