Sochi Games 2014: Indian skier ready for flag to fly at closing ceremony

Reuters| Updated: Feb 19, 2014, 22:12 PM IST

ROSA KHUTOR: India`s only Olympic Alpine skier Himanshu Thakur finished last in the men`s giant slalom on Wednesday and cannot wait for the Sochi Games to end.

Not because he is homesick or fed-up with his performance - he just wants to walk with his country`s flag at the closing ceremony after being denied that honour when the torch was lit nearly two weeks ago.

The 20-year-old from the foothills of the Himalayas had to march behind an Olympic flag when the Games began because of a ban on India`s Olympic Association due to the election of a corruption-tainted offical as secretary general.

The ban was lifted last week after fresh elections, meaning India`s team of three - who entered the Sochi Games as "independents" - can wear their country`s colours with pride.

"It was a bad feeling I think at the opening ceremony because I was under the IOC flag," Thakur said on Wednesday after finishing 72nd - 26 seconds behind his favourite skier, Ted Ligety of the United States.

"It was a bad feeling because I was not representing my country. After February 11 the IOC gave us our country back because of the fresh elections.

"I`m proud to put the flag up (in the athletes village). My parents, teacher and friends were very proud.

"The closing ceremony I will be under my own flag and it will be nice for me."

Despite being out of his depth on the slope, Thakur did manage to complete two runs, a feat beyond nearly a quarter of the 109 on the start list.

"I was a bit nervous when I came down but it was a good feeling when I finished my run," he said.