Bhubaneswar: All the buzz culminated with a flourish and Odisha kept its date in sporting history as the opening ceremony of 22nd Asian Athletics Championship kicked off one of the biggest track and field events of the continent at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
Kalinga Stadium looked at its glittering and majestic best to welcome the athletes, visitors and dignitaries for the inagural event.
Mascot of the meet, 'Olly' led the march-past of the athletes into the stadium. Athlete Tintu Luka was the flag bearer for the Indian contingent which received a rousing welcome from the crowd.
With “Hello Asia, Welcome to Bhubaneswar” Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik inagurated the event as balloons and fireworks lit up the skyline declaring the games open.
Odia athlete Srabani Nanda had the honour of taking the oath on behalf of athletes at the inaugural ceremony.
Various Cultural programs followed with a thrilling display of music, dance, lasers and fireworks.
Bollywood singer Shankar Mahadevan belted out the rendition of popular Sambalpuri folk song 'Rangabati' in an enthralling performance. Original team of 'Rangabati' also shared the stage with Shankar during the ceremony.
As a sign of things to come in the next few days of the championship, the opening ceremony was an electrifying extravaganza leaving everyone spellbound.