Sunday, 29 July 2012 06:45
India have complained to London 2012 over an apparent security lapse during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics last night when an unidentified woman walked alongside flag-bearer Sushil Kumar during the athletes' parade.
The young woman, dressed in a red shirt and blue trousers, marched next to the weightlifter, a bronze medallist at Beijing four years ago, despite having no visible accreditation.
India's Chef de Mission P K Muralidharan Raja has now complained to London 2012 about the incident which has become the main talking point in India about the much-praised Opening Ceremony.
"She had no business to walk in with the Indian contingent and we are taking up the issue with the organisers," he said.
"We don't know who she is and why she was allowed to walk in.
"It is a shame that she was with the athletes in the march past.
"We were initially told that she would accompany the contingent till the track but she went on to take the entire lap.
"There was another man also but he stayed back and did not enter the Stadium.
"We have taken strong exception to this.
"The march past is for the athletes and officials attached to the contingent.
"We are totally taken by surprise how a person could just intrude into the track."
A total of 40 Indian athletes and 11 officials dressed in traditional blazers and Rajasthani yellow turbans or yellow sarees marched in the Opening Ceremony, earning one of the biggest cheers of the evening.
"The Indian contingent was shown for hardly ten seconds in the television coverage and the entire focus sadly was on this lady, instead of the athletes," said Raja.
It is a major issue for Raja to take over having only been promoted to the role of Chef de Mission on the eve of the Opening Ceremony after Ajitpal Singh, the original choice, was unable to travel here due to a serious back problem.
By Duncan Mackay at the Main Press Centre in the Olympic Park in London