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Indian flag hoisted at mountainous Olympic village in Sochi

February 16, 2014, 15:34 UTC+3 SOCHI
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SOCHI, February 16, 15:15 /ITAR-TASS/. A ceremony of hoisting the Indian flag took place at the mountainous Olympic village in Sochi on Sunday.

All the three athletes representing Indian sports at the XXII Winter Olympic Games in Sochi took part in the ceremony. They are the luger Shiva Keshawan, the alpine ski racer Himanshu Thakur, the cross-country ski racer Nadim Iqbal.

All the three athletes entered the Olympic competitions under the flag of the International Olympic Committee.

In December 2012, the IOC suspended India from participation in the Olympic Games under its aegis after the Indian government had interfered in the elections at the Indian Olympic Association.

Earlier this week, however, it returned membership to the association and Indian athletes thus received an opportunity to perform at the Sochi Olympics under the Indian flag.

Resumption of India’s membership of the IOC took place so briskly that it can rightfully be called a miracle, Nayarana Ramachandran, the new president of the Indian Olympic Association said Sunday after the flag-raising ceremony.

He said he had come to Sochi in the small hours of the morning, as the International Olympic Committee need time to reaffirm his accreditation.

Ramachandran said he did not have any time at all to get ready for the event, as he had to resolve the issues like a return of the Indian flag to the Sochi Games, the obtaining of accreditations, the processing of visas, and then the trip to Russia. That is why Sunday’s event was really something magical, he said.

He indicated that he was absolutely glad because he had learned the news about the IOC’s decision to resume the Indian association’s membership just two days after his election to the post.

Ramachandran expressed many thanks for this to IOC President Thomas Bach for his assistance to India’s really rapid return to the Olympic family of nations.

Every athlete wants to compete in the Olympic Games under his or her homeland’s flag, he said adding that Indian athletes were not an exception and emotions were overfilling them and him, too.

Ramachandran said he was not going to recall the errors made by his predecessors, since looking into the future was the best way along which to develop.

The Sochi Olympic Games will close February 23, and the Indian athletes will have an opportunity to get on to the arena of the Fisht stadium under their national flag at the closing ceremony.

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