A short display of Brazilian culture, including their music and dance, greeted the Indian contingent at the formal Welcome Ceremony in the Games Village for the 31st Olympic Games.
One of the first and prominent ceremonies of the Games, which lasted about 45 minutes, saw more than half of the Indian contingent attend it. They were elegantly dressed in white India tracksuits and looked upbeat on eve of the Games.
The Indian Olympic Association President, Narayanswamy Ramachandran and Chef de Mission of the Contingent, Rakesh Gupta, presented the Mayor of the Village, ex-player basketball player and two-time Olympic medallist Janeth Arcain, with two gifts.
One of them was a pair of silver elephants and another was gold plated peacock with the IOA logo embossed a the bottom of the frame.
The show comprising Brazilian rhythms greeted the Indian delegation, alongside those from Bahamas, Burkina Faso, Gambia and Norway.
The Ceremony itself included raising each nation’s flag and playing their national anthems. The show started with a tribal dance spectacle before moving on to an assortment of Brazilian rhythms, including forró, samba and bossa nova. Music by late Brazilian legends Raul Seixas and Tim Maia was also played alongside some latest hits.
After the music and dance, the mayor of the Olympic Village, Arcain, gave a speech about the importance of the Games for humanity and welcomed the teams to Rio.
However, the majority of the Indian contingent has already arrived and has been residing at the Village. Some of those not present this afternoon were away at Training Venues.
Those present included shooters, Jitu Rai, Prakash Nanjappa, Gurpreet Singh, Chain Singh, athletes Khushbir Kaur, Manpreet Kaur, women’s hockey team, swimmers, Sajan Prakash and Shivani Katariya and some of their coaches and officials. Also present were officials from the Indian Embassy in Brazil and officials from India.
India will be fielding its largest contingent of around 120 athletes in 15 disciplines. Last time in London India won six medals, including two silver and four bronze.
The Olympic Village was officially opened more than a week ago on July 24. The Village has 31 buildings (India is housed in Building No. 31) and has 3,604 apartments. The village will host more than 17,000 athletes and officials during its peak times.
It is built in the neighbourhood of Recreio dos Bandeirantes in the west of Rio and is close to Barra Olympic Park, the main venue cluster.
The village was opened last week by Rio mayor Eduardo Paes, Rio 2016 president Carlos Arthur Nuzman and retired basketball player Janeth Arcain, the two-time Olympic medallist who is the mayor of the village.
The complex also features leisure areas, cycle-paths, a huge gym and giant dinning hall with an area of 27,000 square metres and the capacity to cater for 5,000 at the same time, serving up to 60,000 meals per day. The guests will be offered a wide range of local Brazilian and international cuisine, including Indian and Asian food.