Asian Games 2018: Athletes skip Independence Day celebrations at Indian embassy
A nine-hour long journey from New Delhi to Jakarta and a half-hour layover at the Singapore airport has possibly dulled the enthusiasm of Indian athletes as most of them chose to stay in their rooms instead of celebrating their country’s Independence Day at the Indian embassy here on Wednesday.
Barring the men’s and women’s handball teams, chef de mission Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, his two deputies Raj Kumar Sacheti and Dev Kumar Singh, most Indian athletes preferred to stay at the Athletes’ Village. Around 200 schoolchildren of Indian origin were also part of the celebration at the embassy.
The men’s and women’s hockey squads and the wrestling teams, who landed here late on Tuesday night, couldn’t be ready for the scheduled early morning ceremony.
“We certainly wanted to go there, but couldn’t make it to the ceremony as we were tired and needed rest. For sure, we will be celebrating Independence Day in our own style but only after the team’s training,” a hockey team official said.
However, the handball players celebrated the day with fervour. “It was a big celebration and we enjoyed with the same enthusiasm and passion as we would have in India,” men’s assistant coach Bhuwan Bhatt said. “Ahead of the Games, the celebration is a big boost to Indian athletes. If we manage to win more medals than what we had in the last edition, it would be a real tribute to our country and the spirit of independence.”
Other Indian athletes such as table tennis player Manika Batra, shuttler Saina Nehwal and men’s hockey team skipper PR Sreejesh wished everyone via Twitter.
“Thousands laid down their lives to get us an independent India, now it is upon us to keep it at its best. I am on to give my best in what I do ...and I request you all to do your part.#Happy72ndIndependenceDay,” Batra tweeted.
Sreejesh posted a 30-second video of the men’s hockey team wishing everyone a happy Independence Day. “Captains of the Indian Men’s and Women’s Hockey Team, respectively, wish all Indian hockey fans a very happy #IndependenceDay and ask for their support.”