Getting inside the Games Village is a painstaking task. Screening, over-zealous volunteers following each step, security persons guarding the privacy of the sportspersons in the Village are some of the things that immediately strike you.
India’s flag hoisting ceremony gave me the opportunity to visit the Village. From coffee shops to departmental stores, it had everything.
I was so engrossed after entering the Village that I almost forgot about the ceremony. This is the only time – other than after winning a medal — when one gets to hear the National Anthem and see the Tricolour being hoisted at the Games.
On Thursday, as the Indian flag was hoisted, the contingent was officially ushered into the Village by mayor Chen Zi Li.
‘Underdog’ Rathore honoured
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who will be carrying the flag during the opening ceremony on Friday, finally broke his silence. “Being chosen as the flag-bearer in an Olympics is one of the greatest honours that has been bestowed upon me,” he said.
Tagging himself as an underdog, Rathore said: “A lot of shooters have been doing well. For the last few months, I have not been doing as well as I would have liked. But I know what I need to do. It all comes down to that particular day.”
Jitender living a dream
Flyweight boxer Jitender couldn’t help but exclaim: “I am living a dream!” Representing his country at the Olympics for the first time, the 20-year-old pugilist never believed he would be at a Games Village some day.
Dinesh, another Olympic debutant, was over the moon too. He took pictures from every angle possible, so what if his bout is on Saturday. “Let me live the moment first,” he said.
Two boxers who missed the ceremony were Akhil Kumar and Vijender. For an amateur, fighting the scales is as important as his favourite punch. The two were trying to reduce weight.