The Indian contingent is furious over a strange trespass bang in the middle of their official march in Friday’s opening ceremony.
Any lingering disappointment about a lack of camera spotlight on the nation’s athletes was overshadowed by the mystery of a lady in red and blue who walked alongside flag bearer Sushil Kumar.
The woman of unknown origin brazenly gate crashed the party, raising security concerns and adding to the anger over India’s blink-and-miss appearance on global TV screens.
The Indian contingent – around 40 athletes and 11 officials in all – marched into the stadium with the men in yellow Rajasthani turbans, blue blazers and white trousers and the women in yellow sarees and blue blazers. Sticking out in the small contingent was a beaming young woman, seemingly Indian or of Indian origin, in a red track top, blue pants and sneakers. There she was, smiling at the cameras, even waving, soaking in the moment taking and an evening stroll as it were.
Inexplicably, the Indian camp is clueless about the trespasser’s identity. “She had no business being there. It was a clear case of intrusion,” said the acting chef-demission, Brig P K M Raja. “We are taking up the issue with the organizers. We don’t know who she is and why she was allowed to walk in.”
The Indians suspect a security breach and have decided to take up the matter with the London Olympic Games Organizing Committee (LOCOG).
“It is a shame that she was walking with our athletes,” said Raja.
“We checked in together at various points from the Village. It was a 2km walk. When we were entering the stadium, a member of the organizing committee or some security guy asked to be in front of us. We thought the woman was part of LOCOG. When we entered the stadium, the woman who was walking between us and the contingent ahead of us, the Independent Olympic Athletes, suddenly came back and started walking next to Sushil Kumar, our flag-bearer. She just hogged the limelight. The march past is for the athletes and officials attached to the contingent. We are totally surprised by the manner in which she joined the delegation and kept walking inside the stadium,” he said.
Asked whether the woman was Indian, he said he could not say. “She could be Asian, Latin American, I don’t know.”