It’s easy to mistake the young men and women dressed in sporting attire at the various entry and exit points of the Kalinga Stadium for athletes. In fact, they are members of the Odisha Police force dressed in jerseys and track pants. It is learnt that since men in uniform often come across as stern and instill fear or apprehension among citizens, one of the senior officers of the Odisha Police came up with the idea of making some of their policemen wear sporting outfits so that fans feel comfortable around them. “Two-hundred of us are spread across the stadium and have been instructed to smile and be nice to the fans, who are here to enjoy their hockey,” Prithiviraj Behera, one of the cops, told mid-day.
India not in top stats!
The Harmanpreet Singh-led Indian team have been patchy in their performance at this World Cup and that inconsistency is showing in their lack of numbers here. At the end of the first round (league phase), neither India nor any of the Indian players are among top statistics put out by the International Hockey Federation (FIH). The leading scorer is France’s Victor Chalet (six goals), while The Netherlands’ Jip Janssen has taken the most shots on goal (12). The most number of assists is by four players—France’s Gaspard Baumgarten, Lars Balk of The Netherlands, Matias Rey of Argentina and Tim Brand of Australia—four each. Among the teams, The Netherlands have scored the most number of goals (22) and also share the honour of most number of penalty-corner goals with Australia (seven). France have converted the most number of penalty strokes (two).
Also Read: Hockey World Cup 2023: Heartbreak for India!
Spain v Malaysia
There is little to separate World No.8 Spain and Malaysia (No.9) in the World rankings—one place to be precise—and there was very little to separate them in their Crossover clash at the Kalinga Stadium on Sunday. After the scores were locked 3-3 at the end of a thrilling 60 minutes of regulation time, the scores were tied 3-3 again at the end of the first five shootout attempts. The Spaniards eventually prevailed via sudden death to confirm their passage into the QFs, where they meet the Australians on Tuesday.
Originally published at www.mid-day.com