In Pics: Hockey WC 2018 Declared Open With Star-Studded Ceremony

The 2018 FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup kicked off – ceremonially speaking – with a glittering opening ceremony at Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Stadium on Tuesday, 27 November.

A visually breath-taking evening was graced by Bollywood superstars Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit, along with music maestro AR Rahman – each enthralling a packed house with their respective performances.

Organised and sponsored in its entirety by the Government of Odisha, the 14th edition of hockey’s most prestigious competition begins on-field with the first round of grou-stage matches on Wednesday, 28 November.

Hosts India face South Africa in their Pool C opener at 7 pm IST, although Belgium and Canada will hit the turf first at 5 pm IST.

Here’s the best of a captivating evening, in pictures.

Also Read: Hockey WC Kicks Off: Odisha CM Patnaik Declares HWC 2018 Open

Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Stadium was at its illuminated best for the opening ceremony of HWC 2018.
In a touching gesture, members of the 1975 WC-winning team – India’s only HWC triumph – were first to grace the stage.

Also Read: ‘United’ India Can Win Hockey WC After 43 Years: Ajitpal Singh

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik greeted captains of all 16 participating nations shortly after declaring HWC 2018 open.
The 16 captains were presented with a ‘Heartbeat’ by Bollywood icon Shah Rukh Khan, to mark the culmination of a campaign called ‘Heart Beats For Hockey’.

Also Read: Men’s Hockey World Cup 2018: Schedule, Venue and Match Timings

With customary wit, SRK wowed audiences and captains alike, also delivering his iconic ‘Sattar Minute’ dialogue from Chak De! India.
SRK was followed on to the stage by Madhuri Dixit, and the ‘90s superstar mesmerised the crowd as the lead in a spectacular title production called ‘The Earth Song’.
The theme for the ceremony was ‘Oneness of Humankind’ – but the tricolour draped the Kalinga for large parts of the evening.

Also Read: Hockey World Cup: India’s Team, Big Challenges, The 16-team Format

The closing act was a captivating performance by AR Rahman and his crew, featuring some of the greatest hits by the musical maestro.
A capacity Kalinga Stadium sang alongside Rahman and team as they performed iconic songs ‘Maa Tujhe Salaam’ and ‘Jai Ho’.
The ceremony ended the way it began – with no dearth of the most stunning visuals on a picturesque night in Bhubaneswar.

Also Read: History And Recent Form Not On India’s Side This Hockey World Cup

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