A whirlwind tour of Odisha in India for the NSW Institute of Sport Hockey Men’s squad has come to an end following a win in their second game of a two match series.
It was an overwhelming experience for the traveling NSWIS athletes, coaches and support staff, who were treated like superstars in the Indian state of Odisha.
The two-game series between an Odisha XI and the NSW Institute of Sport in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela was part of the build up to the 2018 Men’s Hockey World Cup coming to Odisha in December, and excitement for hockey is clearly high.
On arriving, NSWIS athletes fronted the local media in a press conference.
The large media pack followed the NSWIS team as they competed and trained, a new and exciting experience for many of the young athletes.
They played in front of tens of thousands of fans.
And appeared on billboards.
Even the Chief Minister of Odisha (Naveen Patnaik) came to watch.
After a trying first hit-out where the NSWIS team went down 5-1, the traveling Australian’s found their form and took the second game 3-2. A penalty shoot-out decided the series winner and it was Odisha who would ultimately triumph 5-4.
The team’s coach was forced to play due to one player falling ill. Retired former Kookaburra (and Olympic gold medalist) Brent Livermore fit in well with his newfound teammates.
Captain of the NSW Institute of Sport traveling squad, Kurt Lovett, was named man of the match in the second game of the series.
But not before he fronted another press pack.
We can only imagine how big the 2018 Men’s Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar, Odisha India, is going to be!
The NSW Institute of Sport would like to thank everyone involved in putting this tour together, in particular the Sports & Youth Services Department of the Government of Odisha.