Commonwealth Games: Sindhu, Manpreet to be India's flag bearers in opening ceremony

 P V Sindhu
Double Olympic medallist P V Sindhu. File photo: IANS

Birmingham: Double Olympic medallist badminton ace P V Sindhu and Indian men's hockey team captain Manpreet Singh were on Wednesday named the country's flag bearers for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games to be held here on Thursday.

Manpreet had led the Indian men's hockey team to a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year.

"The decision to name Mr Singh as the second flag bearer for the said occasion was arrived at after the IOA was intimated by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee that two flag bearers - one male and one female - must be named by each nation for the opening ceremony," the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) said in a release.

Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra, who was also the defending champion in the Commonwealth Games having won the gold in Gold Coast four years ago, was expected to be the flag bearer.

But a groin injury following his silver medal at the World Championships forced him to pullout and the Indian Olympic Association picked Sindhu from a three-member shortlist.

Tokyo Olympics medallists -- weightlifter Mirabai Chanu and boxer Lovlina Borgohain are the other two athletes, who were also considered before IOA decided to go for Sindhu.

"It's a great honour to be bestowed with the responsibility to lead the contingent and hold the flag at such an august gathering. I am extremely happy and I wish all my fellow contingent all the best for the Games. I would like to thank IOA also for choosing me as the flag bearer," Sindhu said.

The IOA had a four-member committee to pick the flag bearers, which also included secretary general Rajeev Mehta, treasurer Anandeshwar Panday, and Team India Chef de Mission Rajesh Bhandari.

Initially boxer Amit Panghal and paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal were also shortlisted but the committee chose Manpreet for the honour.

"Mr Manpreet Singh ended Indian hockey's 41-year Olympic medal drought with a bronze at the Tokyo Olympics last year. He is one of the finest athletes to have ever represented India on the international stage," acting IOA president Anil Khanna said.

"We are delighted to name him and Ms Sindhu as the two flag bearers."

Sindhu was also the flag bearer at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, while Manpreet was one of the flag bearers for India at the opening ceremony of Tokyo Olympics.

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