In another shot in the arm to hockey in India, Odisha will host the 2021 Junior World Cup from November 24 to December 5, CM Naveen Patnaik made the official announcement on Thursday. Australia and New Zealand, who had withdrawn from the tournament, will be replaced by USA and Canada.
The FIH Men’s Hockey Junior World Cup 2021 will be held at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha and will be played from November 24 to December 5. The CM of the state Naveen Patnaik made the official announcement on Thursday. “We are delighted to be hosts of this prestigious tournament. Our priority will be to ensure a safe environment to compete in during these challenging COVID times,” Naveen Patnaik said.
The U-21 tournament will feature some of the best teams across the world like defending champions and hosts India, South Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Africa, Egypt, Belgium, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, USA, Canada, Chile and Argentina.
The teams from Australia and New Zealand have withdrawn from the tournament owing to the travel restrictions in their countries due to Covid-19. So now, USA and Canada will replace them in Bhubaneswar.
“Since the qualification process for the event stipulates that the Pan American Hockey Federation has the quota of the first reserve, the USA -- who finished third of the recent Junior Pan Am Championships -- have been selected. The second reserve spot was attributed to the best team in the FIH World Rankings (Seniors) not yet qualified, namely Canada,” the International Hockey Federation (FIH) said in a statement.
The previous edition in Lucknow was won by Harjeet Singh-led Team India, who downed Belgium to lift their second crown.
The 2023 FIH Men’s World Cup will be back in India, jointly hosted by Bhubaneswar and Rourkela.