Bhubaneswar: While the newly-built Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Odisha’s Rourkela was inaugurated yesterday by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ahead of the Hockey World Cup-2023, debate has emerged whether the venue is world’s largest hockey stadium or not.
The state government has been labelling it as the largest hockey stadium of the world since its construction.
However, many opined that it might not be true as National Hockey Stadium in Pakistan’s Lahore is the largest hockey stadium with seating capacity of 45,000. The official website of the Olympics also states the same.
As per the website, Chandigarh Hockey Stadium with 30,000 capacity and Weingart Stadium in Los Angeles having a capacity of 22,355 are world’s second and third largest hockey stadiums, respectively while Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium is at fourth place with 20,000+ seating capacity.
On the other hand, Odisha Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera said the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has certified the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium as world’s largest one in terms of seating capacity.
Sports journalist Jaspreet Sahani said the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium is the largest hockey stadium constructed solely for the purpose of hockey matches.
The hockey stadiums in Lahore and Chandigarh are part of sports complex. Similarly, the stadium of Los Angeles is not hockey-centric, he said.
Notably, the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium has been constructed at an expenditure of Rs 261 crore on 15 acres of land on the premises of Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT).
As many as 20 matches of the world cup will be played at the sporting venue.
The construction work of Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium Complex spread over 60,000 square metres of land was completed in record 15 months, said an official.