Birmingham: Badminton star PV Sindhu and Manpreet Singh, the captain of the Indian men’s hockey team, have been named as the country’s flagbearers for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham on Thursday. The mega event will get underway at 11:30 IST (Indian Standard Time).
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) included the name of Manpreet as the second flagbearer following the announcement by the Commonwealth Games organisers that there should be two flagbearers, one male and another female, for each nation.
Manpreet Singh led the team that bagged a hockey bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics held last year, ending the country’s 41-year medal drought in hockey at the Olympics.
Earlier, the name of the poster boy of Indian athletics, Neeraj Chopra, was in the air to be the flag-bearer. Unfortunately, a groin injury forced the defending champion and Olympic gold medalist to miss the event. At last, the Indian Olympic Association selected the name of two-time Olympic medallist Sindhu as the flagbearer from a three-member shortlist of candidates. The other names that were also considered for this prestigious job in the opening ceremony were those of the Tokyo Olympics medallists—weightlifter Mirabai Chanu and boxer Lovlina Borgohain. In the end, IOA decided to stick with Sindhu.
Sindhu said, “I am jubilant and I wish my entire fellow contingent all the best for the Games.” I am grateful to the IOA for selecting me as the Flag Bearer.
The IOA consists of a committee who had to decide the flagbearers’ names. The names of the members are: secretary general Rajeev Mehta; treasurer Anandeshwar Panday; and Team India Chef de Mission Rajesh Bhandari.
Ace women’s shuttler Sindhu had the distinction of carrying the national flag at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, while hockey star Manpreet was one of the flagbearers for the country at the Tokyo Olympics’ opening ceremony.
In the history of the Commonwealth Games, the largest number of female athletes will be participating in the 2022 edition.
A maximum of 164 Indian participants can take part in the parade during the opening ceremony. Overall, 215 athletes from India are taking part in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games starting today.
However, Queen Elizabeth of England is likely to miss the event because of her mobility issues. In fact, Prince Charles is scheduled to attend the mega event.