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Indian tri-colour flag finally unfurled at Sochi Games

Sunday, 16 February 2014 - 6:54pm IST | Agency: Reuters
Members of India`s national team and volunteers pose with the national flag after the welcoming ceremony for the team in the Olympic athlete`s village, which stands on a mountain plateau in Rosa Khutor, during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Shamil ZhumatovReuters

The Indian flag was today unfurled at the Winter Olympics Village here at 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. 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.

The ceremony started at 1200 hrs local time (1330 IST). "There were three IOC officials and IOA president in the ceremony, besides the six of us -- three athletes and three coaches and a few people from other countries.

We have arranged our ceremonial dresses on which were written India," Winter Games Federation of India Secretary Roshan Lal Thakur, one of the coaches, told PTI. "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.


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