First minister Mark Drakeford said Wales’ ‘sports mad’ nation would be fully behind Danny Newcombe’s squad during their historic first World Cup appearance.
Hockey Wales hosted a farewell evening for Wales men in Cardiff on Monday night before travelling out to India this week. They play England in a crunch encounter on Jan 13 in their opening pool game in Rourkela.
The team were joined by a number of invited speakers including 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.
Drakeford 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”.
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.