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Rediff.com  » Sports » Abhinav Bindra named India's flag bearer

Abhinav Bindra named India's flag bearer

October 01, 2010 16:25 IST

Beijing Olympics gold medallist Abhinav Bindra was on Friday named India's flag bearer for the Commonwealth Games' opening ceremony.

India's chef de mission Bhubneshwar Kalita made the announcement before he got a blasting from Indian media personnel following confusion he created over naming the torch bearers for the last leg of the Queen's Baton relay for the opening ceremony, on Tuesday.

- Commonwealth Games 2010

Kalita named Bindra, Vijender Kumar, Saina Nehwal, Sushil Kumar, Samresh Jung and the Delhi Games' brand ambassador MC Mary Kom as torch bearers.

But Indian Olympic Association president Randhir Singh contradicted Kalita's statement, saying Bindra could not be a part of both and would only be the flag bearer.

"India will be having a large contingent of 619 athletes for the Games, comprising 379 male athletes and 240 female athletes," Kalita said.

"India would be participating in all 17 events at the Games. We are hoping to do well and finish third or higher. We are hoping to make most of the home advantage and the support of our home crowd," he added.

He also clarified that there would be a marching and non-marching contingent.

"The athletes who would be having an event next day won't be taking part in the marching; they will be part of the non-marching contingent. We don't want them to get tired a day before their event," Kalita said.

And Kalita, who introduced himself as "Member of Parliament", then tried to abruptly end the press conference, saying all details would be mailed to reporters later.

However, a few scribes vented their anger on Kalita, saying he has absolutely no information and always ended up giving out something wrong.

They were also angry that they were not allowed to enter the Major Dhyanchand National Hockey Stadium cover the warm-up matches by the Indian hockey team.

It required the intervention of Randhir Singh to calm the media personnel, allowing Kalita to make a hasty retreat.

The opening ceremony at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium will begin at 1900 IST. President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Prince Charles are the guests of honour.

All participating nations will take part in the march past and each country's contingent will be led by a flag bearer.

Australia, hosts of the previous edition of the Commonwealth Games in 2006, will begin the march past followed by other countries in alphabetical order, while hosts India will be last.

Harish Kotian New Delhi