London, Jul 23 (PTI): The Indian national flag was hoisted at the Olympic Games Village in London on Sunday, in a fun-filled musical ceremony presided by the Village Mayor, in attendance of 35 athletes and delegates.
The Village Mayor Sir Charles Allen welcomed India's Deputy Chef De Mission Brig P K Muralidharan Raja, who made a presentation to the dignitary before the Indian tri-colour was hoisted to the tunes of national anthem along with the Olympic flag featuring the five rings.
Welcoming the athletes, who had attained the distinction of representing their countries after years of hard work, the Village Mayor said: "Athletes from various cultures will call our Olympic Village their home, and we hope you take back cherished memories."
The star attraction of the Indian contingent at this "Welcome Ceremony" in the Olympic Village was archer Deepika Kumari. The athletes and delegates were entertained by local youngsters with lovely musical performance complemented by some acrobatic moves.
The performers danced to the song "We Are The Champions" and ended with a salute to the champion athletes, who will compete for glory at the quadrennial sporting extravaganza.
Among the other Indian sportspersons present on the occasion, were the tennis doubles pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, who checked into the Olympic Village on Saturday, the boxers and some members of the hockey team.
Other members of the hockey squad were busy in getting ready for their training session.
Only about half of India's total Olympic contingent has so far checked into the Games Village, and this was ascribed as the reason why India had sought a postponement of the ceremony to allow more officials and athletes to br present, but the organisers turned down the request.
The Indian contingent's Chef de Mission Ajitpal Singh has also not arrived in London yet, and so his duty was performed by his deputy, Brig. Raja.
After the Indian tri-colour began fluttering on the flag-post, Brig Raja signed on the vertical acrylic sheets – as a symbol of showing support and commitment to the values propounded by the Olympic Truce.
The ceremony concluded with the artist designated as the queen among the performers reciting a poem that extolled the athletes to "follow your dreams."
The top officials of the IOA were however conspicuous by their absence. After India, the flags of Turkmenistan and Venezuela were also raised in the same ceremony, which saw a small group of athletes from Venezuela singing their national anthem.