Rourkela (Odisha) [India], June 21 (ANI): Hockey Odisha will take on Hockey Madhya Pradesh in the second clash of the day on Wednesday at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium.
Hockey Odisha has registered a series of impressive performances to earn themselves a place in the semi-final on Wednesday, where they will encounter Hockey Madhya Pradesh.
The 13th Hockey India Junior Men’s National Championship 2023 is currently underway at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela.
The world’s largest seated Hockey Stadium has hosted 29 teams as they vied for the prestigious trophy.
The first encounter of the day will see Hockey Chandigarh take on Hockey Haryana.
Hockey Odisha began their campaign with a dominant victory, asserting themselves against Hockey Gujarat, 18-0.
They followed this up with another display of their goal-scoring prowess, beating Hockey Jammu & Kashmir, 10-0. In their final group clash, Hockey Odisha defeated Manipur Hockey 3-2, to comfortably coast into the quarter-finals. Following this, a 4-2 victory against Hockey Karnataka cemented their place in the semi-final.
Ahead of their crucial semi-final encounter, Head Coach for Hockey Odisha, BJ Kariappa expressed confidence in his team, “We have been playing well throughout the competition and we are almost at the finish line. Hockey Madhya Pradesh is also a very good unit, and we must bring our best performance against them,” according to the official website of Sports Odisha.
On the huge crowd that had shown up to cheer for the home team, he further added “It is great for our boys to experience this atmosphere. We are grateful for the support. With the state-of-the-art turf and great hospitality, it has been like an international tournament. Win or lose, this is crucial exposure for any aspiring athlete.”
Akash Soreng, the 19-year-old who is Odisha’s top scorer with seven successful penalty conversions also shared his thoughts, “We are looking forward to the semi-final and the team’s morale is quite high. We are feeling confident in our abilities.”
On playing at home, he remarked, “Playing on our home ground is a privilege, especially when it is a World Cup venue, but it also brings the pressure to perform. However, we have been preparing rigorously for this tournament, and if we execute our plans effectively, we should achieve the result we want.”