The 14th edition of the Hockey World Cup kicked off in glittering style at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar on November 27 ahead of the double-header opener between India-South Africa and Belgium-Canada.
The crowd at the Kalinga Stadium were graced by the presence of Bollywood superstars Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit. Even Indian singing sensation and Grammy award winner AR Rahman mesmerized the crowd with a beautiful rendition of 'Ma Tuje Salam'.
AR Rahman also marked the occasion by finally releasing the Hockey World Cup anthem which is called, 'Jai Hind India', with the lyrics being written by the legendary musician Gulzar. Indian hockey players, SRK and Shivamani were also some of the others who featured alongside the music maestro in the video.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was also present at the glittering event and addressed the raucous crowd at the Kalinga Stadium: ''I welcome all the international hockey teams, the distinguished delegates, and the hockey officials to Odisha. You’re the guests of 45 million Odia people.''
The Indian team which will be led by Manpreet Singh and vice Captain Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, are scheduled to begin their campaign against South Africa in the tournaments' curtain raiser.
The World Cup will be an 18-day mega event, which will be held at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhuvneshwar, with as many as 16 countries participating. Australia are the most successful team in the World Cup in recent years, with their latest triumph coming in the 2014 edition against Germany.
As far as India is concerned, they won the title only on one only occasion, with their maiden triumph coming in 1975. Though, the Indian men's hockey will be no slouches coming into the tournament, if recent performances are anything to suggest.
Marking the hockey team’s first major tournament since Sardar Singh decided to call time on his international playing career, the Men in Blue will be looking to make amends for their heart-breaking Asian Games campaign.