Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the Hockey World Cup 2018. Stay tuned as we count down to the opening ceremony and bring you live updates from Bhubaneshwar.
Preview: The Odisha government on Monday announced that all educational institutions in Bhubaneswar will remain closed for the opening ceremony of the Odisha Men's Hockey World Cup on Tuesday.
Schools and educational institutions in the capital city will remain closed on Tuesday, while educational institutions across the state will remain closed after 1.30 p.m, a release from the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said. Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and music maestro AR Rahman are slated to perform at the inaugural programme at Kalinga Stadium on Tuesday. Besides, some Odia actors will also perform at the programme.
Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who played a hockey coach in "Chak De! India", will attend the opening ceremony. The actor, who is a sports enthusiast himself, has urged people to support hockey and Team India.
He took to Twitter to extend his support. Hockey player Manpreet Singh asked SRK via Twitter if he would be a part of the hockey tournament and if the actor would support them.
SRK replied saying he would jump at the opportunity. "I wish you and our team the best. Hockey is the pride of India. We will cheer Chak De India! Thank you for thinking of me. #HeartBeatsForHockey.
Odisha Director General of Police (DGP) Rajendra Prasad Sharma on Monday said tight security arrangements have been made for the smooth and successful conduct of the Odisha Men's Hockey World Cup 2018.
This was made necessary when the Kalinga Sena demanded an apology from Shah Rukh, alleging that his film 'Ashoka' had dishonoured the state's culture and its people by portraying the Kalinga War in a wrong manner. The fringe outfit in Odisha threatened to throw ink on the actor's face for distorting history in his film that was released 17 years ago. It also threatened to show him black flags on his arrival during the inauguration of the Men's Hockey World cup.
The Hockey India President, in a letter, appealed to the outfit not to protest against Khan's visit. "Shah Rukh Khan is one of the most popular actors of India and is widely known in the hockey community for his support for hockey and movie 'Chak de India' and because of this he has been invited to attend the opening ceremony," said Ahmad.
"Throwing ink on someone who has been invited as a guest shall bring a bad name to India and will show Odisha in a very poor light in front of all international guests, including the teams," he added.
Following this plea, the organization retracted their statement of violence against Shah Rukh Khan. "We have decided to withdraw our pledge following the request by Hockey India President. Since it is an international event and Shah Rukh Khan is a promoter, we don't want to protest, as that would give a bad name to Odisha," Kalinga Sena chief Hemant Rath said.
With inputs from Agencies.
To see the entire schedule of the Hockey World Cup 2018 in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, click here.