Hockey World Cup 2023: Wales

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Wales are making their debut in Hockey World Cup. They qualified through European qualifying event in Cardiff.

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Wales start their Hockey World Cup 2023 campaign against England. (Image: Twitter)

Rourkela: The passion for hockey seems to be the tonic for the Wales players who have paid their pockets out to represent their national at the FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela that starts on Friday.

In a country where the biggest hockey stadium can accommodate only 200 spectators, a player has to shell out 1000 pounds every year to play for the national team. And only few diehard hockey athletes can manage such hardships and still sport a smile.

For the unknown, Wales are making their World Cup debut in India and their journey wasn’t pleasant but could serve as a motivation for others. The team had to resort to crowd-funding to raise 25,000 pounds to cover flights, accommodation and meals in the two host cities.

“Crowd-funding is part of the means to reduce the cost to the players. Players also contribute; every player pays 1,000 pound per year to play for Wales,” said head coach Daniel Newcombe said ahead of his side’s opening match against England.

“Hockey is a small sport and our national stadium can take about 200 people, which is very different from the one here (21,000-capacity Birsa Munda Stadium),” he added. Wales are placed in Group D along with hosts India, England and Spain.

According to Newcombe, funding for hockey from the government is limited so the players had to contribute. “But due to our recent successes by qualifying for bigger tournaments, we have got more trips and our government has been really helpful.

“We have got a shirt sponsor now and this has reduced the cost (on the players),” added Newcombe. Wales qualified for the World Cup through the European qualifying event in Cardiff.

Amidst all the hardships, Newcombe wants his players to make the opportunity count and prove the world that they are no pushovers. “We may not be household names in India but we have to prove that we have not come here to make up the numbers,” he added.




Published Date: January 13, 2023 5:34 PM IST





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