Bhubaneswar: The Netherlands, the number one ranked women’s hockey team in the world, and Australia, ranked second in the world, arrived at the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar, Odisha on Wednesday to begin their FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24 campaign.
The FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24 (women) is scheduled to take place at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar from 3rd to 9th February, before moving to the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela, where the league will continue from February 12-18. Five national teams – India, China, the United States of America, the Netherlands, and Australia – will participate in the India leg of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24, facing each other once in Bhubaneswar and once in Rourkela.
Australia will play their first match of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24 on February 3, against China, followed by a contest with the United States on February 6. They will then take on India on February 7 and the Netherlands on February 9.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands will kick off their FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24 campaign on February 3, in a battle against the United States. Their next match will be against India on February 4, followed by a clash with China on February 6. They will go on to face Australia in the last match of the Bhubaneswar leg, on February 9.
“The FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24 is a crucial fixture for us as it serves as a preparatory event for the Paris 2024 Olympics. We are looking forward to it and are excited for what is to come. We have been training in Delhi for the last six days and we have a practice match against China before we get right into it. We will be up against some good teams; we haven’t played them in a while. But China, Australia, and India are all exceptional teams and we are looking forward to taking them on,” the Netherlands’ Captain Maria Verschoor commented after landing in Bhubaneswar.
Echoing similar thoughts Australia’s Captain Grace Stewart said, “The FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24 is super important for us, we will face a lot of good quality teams here, and it is a great opportunity to bring things together as a team and get some matches under our belt. We have been training together for a month now and we are excited to get going. All the teams in the League are tough, China and the USA have been in good form and it’s always tough to play against the Dutch, we are ready for some exciting matches against everyone.”