The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has chosen PV Sindhu as the flag-bearer of the Indian contingent for the opening ceremony of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. The IOA, it is learnt, picked the 22-year-old Rio Games silver medalist ahead of Mary Kom and Saina Nehwal, who were also in contention, because of ‘better colour of the medal at the Olympics’ and her consistent performances in the last few years. The opening ceremony will be held at the Carrara Stadium in Gold Coast on April 4.
World Championship and Olympic medalists Mary Kom and Nehwal – both competing in their second Commonwealth Games – are yet to be flag-bearers at a multi-discipline event, which made them among the front-runners to lead the Indian contingent during the ceremony. “Sindhu’s achievements are more recent and she is among the best athletes in the country at the moment. Hence, we have chosen her to be the flag-bearer,” an IOA official said.
Sindhu is one of the favourites to win the badminton singles gold next month after she settled for a bronze at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games following a shock loss to Canada’s Michelle Li. Incidentally, Sindhu finds herself dragged in a controversy after the sports ministry, on Thursday, objected to the inclusion of her mother Vijaya in India’s 330-member contingent.
Sindhu’s mother, who has no role assigned, has been added as an ‘extra official’ in the official team list. The IOA said it has been done following the shuttler’s request. However, the ministry is likely to tell them to travel at no cost to government. Sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore is expected to take a final decision on the issue on Saturday.