FIFA World Cup

Russia 2018: Robbie Williams’ obscene gesture, Putin’s reactions set Twitter abuzz on opening night

The British pop star caused a stir during his performance at the World Cup opening ceremony by making an obscene gesture to a camera

British pop star Robbie Williams caused a stir during his performance at the World Cup opening ceremony in Moscow on Thursday by making an obscene gesture to the cameras.

The former Take That frontman raised his middle finger at the end of his performance at the Luzhniki Stadium after appearing to mouth the words “I did this for free”.

The 44-year-old performed the opening show alongside Russian soprano Aida Garifullina, with the two singing a duet of his hit solo song ‘Angels’.

Williams had also sparked controversy in Russia two years ago for promoting stereotypes about the country with his song ‘Party Like a Russian’.

He said when his performance at the ceremony was announced on Monday that it was “a boyhood dream” and would be “an unforgettable show”.

Williams was performing in front of 80,000 people at the stadium, and a global television audience of tens of millions.

The ceremony was followed by the opening match with hosts Russia routing Saudi Arabia 5-0.

Williams performance brought out a mixed reaction on Twitter but the humour, either way, was in tact, with some preferring his show over the two lowest-ranked teams in the tournament kicking things off.

The other personality who took centerstage on social media was, of course, Vladimir Putin. The Russian presiden officially opened the tournament and told the 80,000-strong crowd at the Luzhniki Stadium before the match kicked off: “I congratulate all of you at the start of the most important championship in the world.”

“Love for football unites the entire world in one team, regardless of people’s language or ideology,” Putin said to thunderous cheers.

Later during the match, Putin’s reactions to Russia’s goals alongside Fifa President Gianni Infantino and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman also took Twitter by storm.

Well, the World Cup was off to an interesting start alright.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.

His brother’s diagnosis of a heart condition in his youth was a wakeup call for the rather sedentary Vikas, and that is when he started focusing on his health more. For the first time in his life, he began to appreciate the power of nutrition and experimented with different diets and supplements for their health benefits. His quest for better health also motivated him to take up hiking, marathon running, squash and, eventually, a summit of the Everest.

Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.

Play

Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

Livogen is proud to have supported Vikas Dimri on his ambitious quest and salutes his spirit. To read more about the benefits of iron, see here. To read Vikas Dimri’s account of his expedition, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.