Zee Media Bureau/Chaitan Papnai
Sochi: Sochi Olympics officially kicks off after Friday night's opening ceremony of the Games. In the 22nd edition of the Winter Games, three Indians are also participating but as independent athletes since they won`t be able to represent the country. Unfortunately, they will perform under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), rather than under the Indian tricolour. This is so because the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) still remains suspended by the IOC.
IOC froze India`s membership in December 2012 after the national association in New Delhi elected a number of tainted officials to key posts.
It`s a shame that Shiva Keshavan, Nadeem Iqbal and Himanshu Thakur - the three Indians who are participating in Sochi Olympics will not be able to represent the country. In fact in the opening ceremony last night, they took part in the marchpast sans Indian flag.
Keshavan is a serious contender to win a medal at Sochi, and recently won a silver medal at the Luge Asia Cup. But he is also depressed with the pathetic situation. “How does an athlete, after putting in years of hard work in training for the Olympics, motivate himself after he is denied an opportunity to represent his own country? I remind myself that I am a sports person and have to stay focused. In my heart and mind, I will be competing for India and representing our country" Keshavan was quoted as saying.
But a few Bollywood celebs wished all three Indian athletes good luck and one among them is Neha Dhupia, as she tweeted.
Without a flag, Shiva Keshavan honours India at Sochi Olympics .... Good luck to all three of our fellow countrymen at #SochiOlympics
— Neha Dhupia (@NehaDhupia) February 8, 2014
with Agency inputs