Shah Rukh Khan to be the ambassador for Hockey World Cup
Bollywood actor and celebrity Shah Rukh Khan will be extending his services as the ambassador for the forthcoming Hockey World Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar later this year.
This follows an announcement last week that Shah Rukh and Akshay Kumar would be performing at a star-studded opening ceremony on November 27, and it has now come to light that the former will also be playing a vital role to ensure the success of the prestigious tournament.
It is the for the third time that hockey's premier showcase event will be held in India - Bombay (now Mumbai) had hosted the tournament in 1982 while New Delhi played host to the competition, more recently, in 2010.
Sixteen of the best hockey-playing nations on earth will converge upon Bhubaneswar in late November to match their wits - and their skills against each other at the Kalinga Stadium, to determine which of them earns the right to lay their hands on the glittering trophy after the summit clash on December 16.
The organizers of the fourteenth edition of the World Cup are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the hockey extravaganza receives the publicity which it so thoroughly deserves. The Odisha government had earlier roped in Oscar-winning music director AR Rahman and eminent lyricist and songwriter Gulzar to compose the title song for the tournament.
As far as the choice of ambassador is concerned, it is indeed fitting that Shahrukh - who is an avowed hockey fan, a former player, and the protagonist of arguably the best-ever film made on the subject of India's erstwhile national game, has been selected to promote the sport's biggest global spectacle.
Incidentally, the Chak De star, in his younger days, had played hockey with none other the chief coach of the Indian national team. The above fact was revealed by Harendra Singh in an interview with Sportskeeda a few weeks after he had been asked to take over the men's side in May.
"Shah Rukh Khan has depicted the character extremely well, but there is a deeper connection with me. Shah Rukh jee may not remember but we have played hockey together near the Hanuman Mandir at Connaught Place (in Delhi). It is wonderful indeed that he acted in a film related to hockey. The film inspired a lot of hockey players and also other sportsmen."
SRK will now look to transcend the barrier between the celluloid character of Kabir Khan who captured the imaginations of millions around the world and the real-life ambassador who will seek to use his effervescent charm to focus the attention of the world on Bhubaneswar and the magic of the World Cup.