July 6, 2017

Opening Ceremony : Asian Athletics Championship 2017 at Bhubaneswar


Indispire Edition 176

Do you like attending events in your city? What kind of events do you look forward to? Bloggers Meet/Lit Meet/Music or Art or Cultural Shows/Quiz/Social Causes...or any other? Share about any event that you recently attended or an upcoming one. #CityEvent

 

I was fortunate to attend the grand Opening Ceremony of Asian Athletics Championship 2017 (#AAC2017) yesterday. For the first time, top smart city and my home - Temple City of Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India - is hosting this prestigious meet from July 6 to 9, 2017 at our world class Kalinga Stadium. Over 800 athletes from 45 Asian countries are participating in the glorious event.

 

I went as part of Team Yes We Can, a group of energetic people who are on a mission to help develop Odisha completely by 2036. This event was so much fun and meaningful due to this team, for me!

 
Team Yes We Can: Watch out!! Awesome work being done by this team!

Amidst tight security (who did not even let us take in 200 ml bottles of water!), we entered the stadium by 3 pm shouting cries of "Bharat Mata ki Jai"! Our Utkalamrita specially designed #Olly (mascot of #AAC2017) dried palm leaf hand-painted toys were in each of the team members' hands! These generated a lot of interest among onlookers and stadium people!

 

The seats started filling soon after and we were happy to see huge #Olly balloons put up in the gallery corners. Big "Welcome to Odisha" banner-size printouts were distributed in the stadium for the spectators to hold up. The stage was set up with huge sleeping LED screens on four sides of it, plus huge standing LED screens around the stadium.

 
Source: Amrita Sabat's own mobile phone

The hosts for the evening started the cultural show at 5 pm. Ollywood (Odia movie industry) stars, famous anchor Kuna Tripathy of News Fuse fame, Odisha's own Lady Gaga Naziya all charmed the audience by their performances. Then the Chief Minister along with other VIPs arrived by 6 pm and were felicitated. The Athletics Federation Heads spoke of how they felt disappointed when Jharkhand withdrew from hosting #AAC2017 and were amazed how #Odisha successfully stood up to the challenge. The CM spoke about how Odisha is emerging as a top sporting, education, investment and manufacturing hub. Videos of building infrastructure and getting fully prepared to host this event of mega scale within 90 days, along with superb videos portraying rich Odisha Tourism, were shown, which drew great applause from one and all.

 

The Navy Band and the release of balloons made for spectacular music and sights! It was magic! 

 

Source: Amrita Sabat's own mobile phone

The marching contingents followed, led by the ever smiling #Olly and then each country's contingent was led by a lady wearing beautiful Odisha sarees. A special ovation was given by the spectators when Pakistani contingent came out marching- such is our brotherhood from the Land of Peace and from where Buddhism spread- Odisha! It was a moment of great pride when our National Anthem was played, followed by our Odisha's very own top athlete Shrabani Nanda taking oath on behalf of all athletes to participate in the games in the right sporting spirit! 

 

This was followed by excellent cultural evening first with a performance by the famous Prince Dance Group showing the very evolution of Solar System with the Sun; next dance showed the abundance of water and rain in Odisha and how our Kalinga traders went out in much difficulty centuries ago to do trade in South East Asia crossing the Mahanadi river waters out into the sea- our Bali Jatra; 

 

Source: Amrita Sabat's own mobile phone

next was series of breathtaking Odissi Dance and Acts choreographed by PadmaShri Aruna Mohanty depicting Kalinga War and transformation of Chandashok to Dharmashok - the story of Ashoka the Great; another dance portraying the life of Kalinga's Great King Kharavela, who it is said, when he raised his flag here in Utkala, then even Delhi till present Afghanistan used to tremble out of fear and respect; then came the out-of-the-world hot air balloon show which had talented foreign dancers wearing electrified LED suits...they did stunts in mid-air while hung from the balloons- a first in my lifetime experience for me and I am sure for all who witnessed it at the stadium! 

 
Source: Amrita Sabat's own mobile phone

 

Yes they are flying!

This was followed by superb performances by Mumbai group dancers. The stadium erupted in joy when famous singer Shankar Mahadevan started crooning his most popular numbers- Breathless and Koi kahe from Dil Chahta Hai. But first, he won the hearts of one and all when he sang our most poplar Odia song- "Rangabati" after having profusely praised and having taken blessings from the original singers and composer of this timeless classic song! Truly the audience went into a frenzy!

 

Finally the fireworks went off gloriously after this extravaganza. The only drawback was that all fireworks were concentrated only in the area above the roof of our public viewing galleries. Due to this, we (the public who had paid for their seats!) could witness almost nothing while the VIP stand bang opposite ours got the whole view, which defeated the very purpose of the fireworks. These should have been evenly placed around the stadium, which would also have given it a stupendous view from the sky above and a drone catching that spectacular fireworks display would have been the best video ever!! The hosts meanwhile thanked one and all for having made the Opening Ceremony a grand success. 

 

Source: Amrita Sabat's own Asus Mobile Phone

We then dispersed, saying thanks to each of our team mates but not before going around the splendid stadium which was decked up like a bride in lights and Pipli lampshades! 

 

Source: Amrita Sabat's own mobile phone

The special Konark Sand Art by our very own Padmashri Sudarsan Pattnaik has become the cynosure of all eyes (and selfies!) and we were not to be left behind! :)

 

This was just the beginning...Day 1 of the actual games is over today and India has greatest support! All eyes are also on our Odisha's four participating athletes - Shrabani Nanda, Dutee Chand, Jauna Murmu and Amiya Mallick! May the best athletes win! Jai Hind! Bande Utkala Janani!


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