The Indian flag was unfurled at the Winter Olympics Village in Sochi on Sunday in a special ceremony, five days after the International Olympic Committee revoked a 14-month suspension on the country.
The ceremony, which lasted around 45 minutes and organised at International Plaza of Mountain Cluster Village, was attended by the three Indian athletes taking part in the Winter Olympics, new IOA President N Ramachandran and European Olympic Committees President Patrick Hickey, nine days into the Sochi Games.
“The Indian flag joined those of 87 other nations flying at Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games today when it was hoisted during a team welcome ceremony for the recently reinstated Indian Olympic Association,” the IOC said in a statement.
NATIONAL ANTHEM PLAYED
Luger Shiva Keshavan, alpine skier Himanshu Thakur and cross country skier Nadeem Iqbal and their three coaches stood silent as the tri-colour was hoisted with the national anthem being played at the background.
Winter Games Federation of India Secretary Roshan Lal Thakur, one of the coaches, said. “We were not allowed to fly the tri-colour and wear any dress on which is written India when the Games began due to IOA’s suspension but after the suspension was lifted, we can now proudly fly our national flag and wear dresses with India written on them,” he said.
Asked about the ceremony, Thakur said, “Six of us along with the IOA President stood in a line. First the IOC flag was raised and then the tri-colour with the national anthem sung at the background.”
The raising of the tri-colour symbolically marked the completion of India’s return to the Olympic fold, a week after the IOA conducted its elections on the diktat of the IOC. “I am thrilled and delighted. I don’t look into the past.
“I only look for the future,” Ramachandran said.