FIFA World Cup Champions
Amidst a riot of colour and a breathtaking laser show, the glittering FIFA World Cup
Champions Trophy was publicly displayed for the first time in
India at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata on Friday evening.
Indian soccer star Baichung Bhutia, riding a caparisoned elephant, held aloft the coveted cup, crafted by Italian artist
Silvio Gazzanigia, to applause from the gathering.
The function kicked-off with a replay, on a giant screen, of
some of the sensational goals scored by all-time greats like
Diego Maradona, Pele and Ronaldo. It was followed by the
scintillating laser show.
The central area of the stadium was bathed in light as
the clock struck seven. Three elephants entered with the
World Cup emblem. Bhutia held the trophy, made of 18-carat gold, weighing
4.97 kg, given to the official sponsor, Gillete, for
exhibition in select countries in the run-up to the World Cup.
Singer Usha Uthup belted out her hit numbers, which was followed by a dazzling fireworks display.
Indian footballer of the last millennium Sailen Manna and
former Olympian Sahu Mewalal were present along with West
Bengal Sports Minister Subhas Chakraborty.
Bhutia said, "I am very happy to be back in Kolkata; I look forward to play in the city."
The trophy will now go to Bangladesh, from where it will
reach Kochi on April 29. It will be in Mumbai the next day
from where it will be taken to the FIFA headquarters Zurich.