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    Asiad: Saina on stand-by as India's flag-bearer

    Guangzhou: Star woman shuttler Saina Nehwal will carry the country's tri-colour during Friday's Asian Games Opening Ceremony here if ace rifle marksman Gagan Narang pulls out from performing the honour, said Indian Olympic Association chief Suresh Kalmadi.

    "We want Gagan Narang to be the flag-bearer at the Opening Ceremony but in case he is unable to do so, and we have left it to him to decide on it, then Saina Nehwal would do the honour. She has been kept as the stand-bye," said Kalmadi after the Indian flag was raised at the Games Village here on Thursday.

    The flags of Indonesia and Lebanon were also unfurled at the village.

    Kalmadi said the reason Narang, who bagged four gold medals in last month's Commonwealth Games, may pull out was because the ace shooter's first event was scheduled early on November 13, the day after the opening.

    "He has to participate in his first event early morning the next day. We have totally left it in his hands," said Kalmadi.

    IOA secretary-general Randhir Singh also said it would be an honour to do the flag-bearer's job but having gone through such an experience in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, attention must also be paid to the fact that Gagan had an event to take part next morning.

    "I was the flag-bearer at the Moscow Games and it was windy the next day and I could feel stiffness in my arms. The pressure on the arms is different when holding the flag," said the one-time ace shooter and former Asian Games medallist.