Bhubaneswar: Hockey-crazy state Odisha is all set to script history today with inauguration of the Hockey Men’s World Cup-2018 at the Kalinga Stadium here.
Images of hockey superstars adorn billboards and buildings across the city which has wholeheartedly embraced the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host a sporting spectacle with a glorious heritage.
The opening ceremony, scheduled to start from 5.30 PM at the Kalinga Athletics Stadium, will witness Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, actress Madhuri Dixit Nene and music maestro AR Rahman enthralling thousands of spectators at the venue.
Tight security arrangements have been made for the smooth and successful conduct of the Hockey World Cup. Odisha Director General of Police (DGP) Rajendra Prasad Sharma said security has been tightened at the city airport and hotels where the players and delegates are accommodated.
Besides, frequent sanitizing drills are being performed at the Kalinga Stadium to detect the presence of explosives, he added. “There are celebrities for the opening ceremony which invites enthusiasm of the crowd throwing a challenge for the security forces. The main objective would be to ensure that the entire event passes off peacefully and incident-free,” said the DGP.
More than 300 inspectors, sub-inspectors, assistant sub-inspectors and 75 platoons of police force have been deployed for the event. Police personnel in plain clothes will also be deployed at the stands of the stadium, sources said.
As many as five Quick Reaction Teams (QRT) and two Special Tactical Units (STU) have been deployed at strategic locations of the City to prevent any untoward incident outside the stadium, sources added.
The Odisha government has announced that all educational institutions in Bhubaneswar will remain closed for the opening ceremony today. Other educational institutions and government offices across the state will remain closed after 1.30 p.m today, a release from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said.
The Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 will kick off on 28 November and end on 16 December. The Men’s World Cup is played every four years.