Champions League kicks off with a dazzling opening ceremony

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The inaugural edition of the Airtel Champions League Twenty20 tournament kicked off with a dazzling opening ceremony.

Updated: October 08, 2009 14:44 IST
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The inaugural edition of the Airtel Champions League Twenty20 tournament kicked off with a dazzling opening ceremony marked by laser shows and musical performances by reputed international stars at M Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Thursday.

Reggae singer Shaggy, Grammy winner Chaka Khan, British pop star Jamelia and Shaolin monks from China set alight the star-studded opening ceremony as thousands of spectators thronged the stadium to have a glimpse of the spectacle.

The proceeding started with skippers of the twelve participating teams exchanging flags and taking the "MCC -Spirit of Cricket" before leaving their hand prints in clay, as an attestation to play the game within the spirit of cricket.

"It is an incredible moment. I hope this champions league helps the game to grow and expand. The birth of this new concept could not have been possible without the support of the different Cricket Boards," Champions League Commissioner Lalit Modi said.

After the inaugural speech, twelve world-renowned Japanese drummers took centrestage, followed by international dancers in Michelle Ferranti costumes.

American R&B singer-songwriter Yvette Marie Stevens, better known as Chaka Khan, then entertained the audience with her hit single "I Feel For You".

Then there were the acrobatic cube artists showing their feat followed by the Shaolin monks from China who displayed Tai Chi, Kung Fu and Chi Kung movements in an adrenalin-packed sequence, surrounded by the agile Kalaripayattu artists.

Shaggy then enthralled the audience with his song "Feel the Rush", which was the official anthem for the mascots of the Euro 2008 football tournament. His performance was accompanied by a multi-coloured laser show and eight wind dancers.

British singer-model Jamelia also enthralled the crowd with her super hit song "Superstar".

In the grand finale, all the artists converged onto the field to a synchronised segment of lights, laser, concert sound and a display of fireworks that illuminated the sky and brought an end to the spectacular opening ceremony.

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