Hockey World Cup opens today with unprecedented security | india | Hindustan Times
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Hockey World Cup opens today with unprecedented security

Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium was virtually turned into a fortress on the opening day of the hockey World Cup that has come to India after 28 years and hopes to resurrect the sport in the country. Around 15,000 security personnel are in action to guard 17,000 spectators during the match between India and Pakistan. See special

india Updated: Feb 28, 2010 11:24 IST

Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in the national capital was virtually turned into a fortress on Sunday on the opening day of the hockey World Cup that has come to India after 28 years and hopes to resurrect the sport in the country.

With armed guards, snipers and gun-totting commandos on standby, the refurbished sporting venue will host the 12-nation tournament for the first time.

The media, which was allowed to enter the stadium just two days ago, is being frisked at multiple points and is being escorted to the pitch. Metal detectors and bomb disposal squads are dotting the entry-exit points.

All teams have arrived here despite their initial apprehensions regarding security after the Indian government assured them of full-fledged protection following threats from Al-Qaeda.

Tight security is also in place in and around Hotel Le Meridian, which is housing the players, and even the media is not being allowed access to the lobby to interact with the teams.

While the players are being covered by the Delhi Police's security cell, the local police and commandos of the elite National Security Guard (NSG), as well as other paramilitary forces are guarding the stadium.

Tickets to tonight's India-Pakistan game have been sold out and the expected crowd capacity is 17,000 spectators.

In all, prevent a repeat of the terror attack on Sri Lankan cricket players at Lahore in Pakistan last year.

Armed policemen will escort the players when they move to and from the stadium, which is located in the heart of the city. Two-three armed officers will also travel with the players in their buses.

Besides hosts India, Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, South Korea, and Spain are participating in the tournament.