Former player VR Raghunath feels that hosts India are strong contenders for a podium finish in the upcoming FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela from January 13 to 29. “We are definitely medal contenders at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela,” said Raghunath, who was a member of the Asian Games gold medal-winning team, according to a Hockey India release. We will have the advantage of home ground and home fans and we should definitely take advantage of that. ,
India had won a historic bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year, ending a wait of 41 years, and the former drag-flicker said a podium finish at the tournament would be a memorable moment for the sport in the country. India has so far won three medals in the World Cup, with the country finishing third in the inaugural edition in 1971, followed by the silver medal in 1973 and the gold medal in 1975 in Kuala Lumpur.
Raghunath said, “Recently we also got a medal in the Tokyo Olympics and it would be great to win a medal in this tournament (World Cup). If they can do that, it will indeed be a memorable moment for the players. Apart from India, Raghunath also considers Australia and defending champions Belgium as contenders for the world title. He said, “I think Belgium and Australia will be two teams that will be very difficult to beat.