Wales men’s hockey team head to first World Cup in history
You wait for years then two World Cups come along at once.
While the Cymru national football side qualified for their first World Cup in 64 years, Wales’ men’s hockey team have qualified for the first ever World Cup in their history.
It’s momentous occasion for the sport in Wales and for the team who flew out to India this week where the tournament begins next week.
The opportunity for the Hockey Wales Men’s team to play at the World Cup cannot be understated.
At the tournament they will take on the best in the world in front of a global audience of two billion.
They play England in a crunch encounter on Jan 13 in their opening pool game in Rourkela, a tough group which also sees the Wales team taking on India.
This week the @HockeyWales men’s team head to India for their first ever @FIH_Hockey World Cup 🇮🇳
We’re sure they’ll do us proud and put Welsh hockey on the map!
Show them your support below ❤️🏴 #HWC2023 pic.twitter.com/PAmmaqoJHe
— Welsh Government Culture and Sport (@WGCulture) January 3, 2023
At the start of the week First minister Mark Drakeford held a reception for the team before they headed out to the World Cup – and said Wales’ ‘sports mad’ nation would be fully behind Wales coach Danny Newcombe’s squad during their historic first World Cup appearance.
The team were joined by a number of invited speakers including Mark Drakeford and deputy high commissioner for the High Commission of India, Mr Sujit Gosh, as team members were congratulated on their selection.
Other special guests included Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, GB Hockey president Sheila Morrow, Sport Wales interim CEO Brian Davies, deputy minister for Sport and arts Dawn Bowden and Raj Aggarwal, from the honourable consul for India.
The First Minister wished the men’s senior team good luck and said “it’s the most fantastic achievement”, adding that the senior side must be on “top of the world”.
He added: “The Hockey World Cup sets off a fantastic year of sport for Wales and the opportunity that comes with it to make Wales known on that world stage.”
Hockey Wales CEO Ria Burrage-Male added that “we don’t punch above our weight, we punch above our resources”.
Wales men’s hockey team (Credit: Hockey Wales)For the most part players have had to fund their way through their hockey journeys, which has resulted in Hockey Wales launching a GoFundMe page in order to alleviate some of that burden
A statement on the page reads: ‘Both our men and women contribute financially to play for Wales, your help will ensure they do not pay to play on one of the biggest sporting stages.
‘Thank you for your interest, contribution and for becoming part of our journey.
‘Wales Men will represent you and our nation with pride, honour, respect and Hwyl.’
To find out more and to donate click HERE
Study In Wales, which promotes Wales’ universities and colleges are lead sponsor of the team at the tournament
The partnership will see the team engage with education institutions and their students in and around the tournament locations.
This will include a visit to the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, an international school in Odisha to give talks and interact with students on 17 January, just two days before the crunch game against India.
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Well, they surely can’t show Cymru up any more than the football team did!
You’d be hard-pressed to find a Welsh accent among any of them.