Fireworks, star-studded performances mark opening ceremony of FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup-2023
Cuttack: All roads led to the Barabati Stadium here as the opening ceremony of FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup-2023 was held today with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Anurag Thakur gracing the occasion as chief guests.
“Odisha has long been known for its hospitality. I am sure all the visitors will take a little part of Odisha home with them,” said Patnaik in his brief speech.
Patnaik began his speech by invoking Lord Jagannath and thanked the Union Government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the required support to Odisha to host the men’s hockey world cup for the second time in a row.
The Chief Minister received thunderous cheer from the youths present at the stadium when he said, “The men’s hockey world cup is being organised in Odisha. The inauguration ceremony is being held at Cuttack. Are you all happy? I am also happy. (Odisha re international men’s hockey world cup hauchi, apana mane khusi to? Odisha ra Cuttack re inauguration ceremnony hauchi apana mane khusi to? Mu bhi bohut khusi?”
In his speech, Thakur applauded Odisha for hosting the mega sporting event for the second time. “Let’s all celebrate the spirit of hockey,” he said.
Bollywood actors Ranveer Singh and Disha Patani rocked the stage with their live performances. Famous K-Pop brand BLACKSWAN featuring Shreya Lenka of Odisha also enthralled the people.
Musician, arranger and composer Pritam and a team of 11 singers including Benny Dayal, Neeti Mohan, Amit Mishra, Lisa Mishra, Antara Mitra, Sreerama Chandra, Nakesh Aziz, Shalmali Kholgade and Namita Meleka of Odisha presented a live performance of Men’s Hockey World Cup-2023 song titled ‘Hockey Hai Dil Mera’ in the event.
The Prince Dance Group, Ollywood actors Sabyasachi Mishra and Archita Sahu, Odissi dance Guru Aruna Mohanty, Rapper Big Deal and singer Rituraj Mohanty also performed at the ceremony.
Odisha Sports and Youth Services Minister Tusharkanti Behera, FIH President Tayyab Ikram, Hockey India President Dilip Tirkey and 5T Secretary VK Pandian among others were present at the opening ceremony.
Around 40,000 people including players and officials from 16 countries and dignitaries from across India attended the event.
As many as 50 platoons of police force and at least 300 officials were deployed in and around Barabati Stadium for smooth organisation of the opening ceremony.
The Cuttack Municipal Corporation made arrangements in all 59 wards of the city for live streaming of the opening ceremony. Besides, thousands of people watched the mega event through giant screens at 16 hockey fan parks at various locations of the city.
Earlier in the day, the hockey world cup trophy made a tour across the city. The trophy tour began at Bali Jatra ground at 7 am in the morning and passed through Chandi Mandir, SB Women’s College, Samaj Office, Buxi Bazar Square, Netaji Birthplace Museum, Qadam e Rasool, Choudhury Bazar, Naya Sadak, Balu Bazar, Chandini Chowk, Belleview, New Satichaura Square, Eye Hospital, CDA Sector 9, Saraswati Sishu Mandir, Chahata Square, Deer Park, Jobra, College Square, Ranihat, Mangalabag and Mata Matha before reaching Barabati Stadium.
The state government also made arrangements at at least 6,500 gram panchayats across Odisha for live streaming of the mega event. The state government also declared a half-day holiday for all schools, colleges, technical institutions, financial instutions and offices today so that they could watch the opening ceremony through television.
Notably, Odisha is hosting the men’s hockey world cup at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar and Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela from January 13 to 29.