Games Village Mayor justifies denial to India

London: The Mayor of the Olympic Games Village Sir Charles Allen on Sunday asserted that India was not the lone country, whose request to defer the welcome ceremony, was turned down.

"Yes, we do understand why the Indian officials wanted their welcome ceremony at the Olympic Games Village to be put off for a few days to enable more athletes to arrive in London," he said, asserting that all such request were had been turned down by the officials.

India had requested for a postponement closer to the July 27 Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games, but were asked to kindly stick to the original schedule drawn up by the organisers of the quadrennial Olympics.

"We are allowing no changes to the schedule. Several countries want their ceremony moved and that would have disrupted the entire programme," the Olympic Village`s Mayor said, adding that most nations were keen to have their `Welcome Ceremony` moved to the same cluster of dates.

"It would have become a very crowded schedule if such changes were permitted. I am sure the Indian delegation would understand why such requests were not being allowed," Sir Charles Allen said.

He said the organisers had to look at a number of logistic problems if such changes were allowed, and not the least of those problems was the fact that the young artists performing at the ceremony were already working extra hours.

India had sought the postponement specifically to allow a larger contingent to be present at the function, a fact that was clear when just 35 members of the contingent ? featuring very few athletes ? were present at the flag raising ceremony today.

Even top officials of the Indian Olympic Association were not present on the occasion, but the organisers asserted they had very good reasons to stick to the original roster.