Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

With the FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023 just a day left to start in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela, Millennium city of Cuttack hosted a glittering and star-studded inauguration ceremony at the historical Barabati Stadium on Wednesday.

Blackswan bandBlackswan band performs at Barabati Stadium

A carnival like atmosphere engulfed Odisha with the celebration of the game reverberating all across the State from the historical stadium as the curtains formally went up on the world’s greatest show of hockey.

Around 35,000 spectators converged in the stadium to soak in the dazzling and action-packed music and performances by Bollywood and Ollywood superstars along with international groups.

Dazzling show at Barabati StadiumDazzling show at Barabati Stadium

The glittering World Cup trophy was unveiled in presence of FIH President Tayyab Ikram, Union Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Anurag Thakur, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and former Indian hockey team captain and Hockey India President Dilip Tirkey.

Hailing the State government for hosting two consecutive Hockey World Cups Thakur said, “Hopefully all the 16 teams will enjoy a health competition with sportsman spirit throughout the showpiece event.”

“Thanks to Odisha for building a grand new stadium at Rourkela for the country,” said Thakur.

Glittering show at Barabati Stadium in CuttackGlittering show at Barabati Stadium in Cuttack

Speaking on the occasion, Patnaik said, “Odisha has been long known for its hospitality. I hope visitors will take a little part of Odisha with them.”

The Chief Minister also thanked the Centre for extending support to host the grand tournament.

FIH President Tayyab Ikram said world hockey owes a lot to Odisha.

“Odisha is the land of hockey. Top athletes will perform at world’s best stadiums in Odisha in the marquee event,” said Ikram.

Disha PataniBollywood star Disha Patani performs at Barabati Stadium

The opening ceremony featured live performances by Bollywood stars Ranveer Singh, Disha Patani and music composer Pritam, who has composed HWC 2023 anthem, along with Blackswan, the famous K-Pop band featuring Odisha’s Shreya Lenka. Ollywood’s power couple Sabyasachi Mishra and Archana Sahu also featured in the celebration along with the famous Prince Dance Group.

The inaugural ceremony titled ‘Celebrating the Spirit of Hockey’ showcased Odisha’s culture-- especially ‘Jagannathastakam’ choreographed by Padmashree Aruna Mohanty. The heritage of Odisha was amply showcased through performances and technology.

Ranveer SinghBollywood star Ranveer Singh performs at Barabati Stadium

The captains of 16 teams joined the inauguration ceremony virtually. 

While Cuttack buzzed with excitement over the much anticipated event, the city administration and police made elaborate arrangement for ensuring the ceremony to be a smooth affair.