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CT 2014 News
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Crowd is the highlight of CT 2014 (12/13/2014)
--Tazeen Qureshy
When the administrators decided to hold the 2014 edition of champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar, one of the major reasons to do so was the immense crowd which comes here to watch the matches. True to their predictions, the stadium is full during India’s matches, many fans even having to stand and watch the match due to unavailability of seats.

In fact the dismal performance of India in the first two matches did not stop the crowd’s enthusiasm who are purchasing tickets in black—a Rs50 ticket is being sold up to Rs 1000 as well!

However, an interesting bit of the whole crowd frenzy is that there is a sizeable crowd which comes for the morning session that hosts matches of countries other than India. Though the crowd in session one mainly comprises of school children who have been invited by the organizers to witness international teams playing, the kids have not let them down as they cheer even for the other countries.

“We expected crowd, no doubt. But, we did not know there would be so much enthusiasm for matches other than India as well. I love the way every one supports other countries as well. It makes the other teams enjoy playing here,” says a surprised Elena Norman, CEO of Hockey India.

Belgium seems to be the crowd’s second favourite team as its gets the loudest cheer than any other teams here. Ashley Jackson and Tom Boon clearly have more fans after Sardar Singh, P.R. Sreejesh and local lad Birendra Lakra.

The players too don’t disappoint their fans as they respond to the cheers, waving at them and obliging to their request of posing for a photograph.

“It is good that people love you, your game. I get this response in Belgium, but this crowd is really special. I hope, I can retain some of their love when I come to play here again during the Hockey India League,” says Tom Boon while signing autograph for a group of fans who designed a poster with photographs of the Belgium players.

Swetlena Anand, a ninth grade student, who had taken the initiative, explains the reason. “I was watching the first match of Belgium and tweeted to the players after the game. They retweeted my tweet. So, I came for all their matches and designed the poster. I am so happy that Tom Boon signed it for me,” she says.

Interestingly India faces Belgium in the quarter-final. No prizes for guessing which will get more support, but there is one thing for sure – the crowd will love each second of the game which will be played by two of its favourite teams.

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