Playing in their backyard, the Chandigarh Comets crashed to a narrow defeat 3-4 loss against the Bhopal Badshahs in the inaugural match of the World Series of Hockey (WSH) on Wednesday.
The visitors opened the account, but the second and third quarters were dominated by the hosts. It was the fourth quarter which saw the maximum action and it was Bhopal who sealed the match in their favour.
Earlier, for all the controversies surrounding the event, the opening ceremony of the was pretty impressive, though the crowd response left a lot to be desired.
The organisers might have expected a greater turnout —there were barely 4,000 spectators in the stadium with a capacity of 20,000 — but an hour-long delay in the start of the match did not do any good to the reputation of the WSH.
Though there was a fair sprinkling of Bollywood — Saif Ali Khan and Neha Dhupia were the star attraction — and Punjabi singer Mika did well to keep the crowd on its feet, the buzz seemed to be missing.
In fact, sports minister, Ajay Maken, too gave the opening ceremony the miss, though his message for the success of the league was shown on a giant screen.
“I congratulate the WSH and the Indian Hockey Federation for daring to dream and conducting such a grand hockey feast for the people of India and hockey players of the world,” said Maken in his video message.
“We may have lost ground for some time but that's part and parcel of sports and life. The good news is that hockey is regaining ground and I'm very happy that the WSH is being held in India,” Maken said.