Two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu described it as “a great honour" after the Indian Olympic Association decided to name her as India’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremony of the 22nd Commonwealth Games on Thursday.
Sindhu has to step in as Neeraj Chopra, who was earlier announced as flag-bearer had to withdraw from Birmingham 2022 due to an injury he suffered during the recent Athletics World Championship in Oregon, USA.
“It’s a great honour to be bestowed with the responsibility to lead the contingent and hold the flag at such an august gathering. I am extremely happy and I wish all my fellow contingent all the best for the Games. I would like to thank IOA also for choosing me as the Flag-bearer," Sindhu said after the announcement on Wednesday.
Earlier, the IOA said Sindhu was among three names that were considered for the role.
“The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is delighted to announce shuttler Ms PV Sindhu, a two-time Olympic medallist, as the Flagbearer of Team India at the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“Alongside Ms Sindhu, who medalled at the Rio 2016 Olympics and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, two other highly deserving athletes were considered to be Team India’s flag-bearer: weightlifter Mirabai Chanu and boxer Lovlina Borgohain, who are both Olympic medallists," the IOA said in a statement earlier in the day.
A four-member committee, comprising IOA Acting President Anil Khanna, IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta, IOA Treasurer Anandeshwar Panday, and Team India Chef de Mission Rajesh Bhandari, shortlisted the three athletes. Eventually, Khanna and Mehta selected Sindhu as the flag-bearer for the Opening Ceremony.
Anil Khanna, IOA Acting President said, “It’s with great pleasure that we announce PV Sindhu as the flag-bearer for Team India. The other two athletes, Mirabai Chanu and Lovlina Borgohain, were immensely deserving, too, but we went ahead with Sindhu because she is a two-time Olympic medallist. We expect Sindhu will continue to do well and perform with excellence at these Games.
“The 2022 edition of the Commonwealth Games has the largest contingent of female athletes in the history of the Games, so the IOA sensed fit that we spotlight our commitment to gender equity, in adherence to the spirit of the Olympic Charter, by shortlisting three women athletes for the prestigious role of Team India’s Flagbearer at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. We hope that watching Sindhu lead Team India with the Indian flag in her hand at the Opening Ceremony will inspire millions of girls in India to take up sports," he added.
Rajeev Mehta, IOA Secretary General said, “We are very happy to select Sindhu as the flag-bearer for the Opening Ceremony. We extend our congratulations to her and wish her, and the other athletes of Team India, the very best for the Commonwealth Games."
In addition, Rajesh Bhandari, Team India Chef de Mission, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, announced that a maximum of 164 participants can take part from the Indian contingent in the Parade of Nations in the Opening Ceremony, scheduled for Thursday.
“The count of 164 will include athletes and team officials. The final list will be drawn up by this evening, gauging the availability of the athletes," said Rajesh Bhandari.