Village mayor welcomes Indian contingent

Village mayor welcomes Indian contingent

Indian flag being hoisted at the Asian Games' village in Jakarta. DH PHOTO

The Indian contingent was officially welcomed to the Asian Games athletes’ village at a simple ceremony on Thursday.

With teams checking in by the hour, it was a busy day at the village. India were welcomed in, along with contingents from Qatar, Jordan and Myanmar. 

The Tricolour was hoisted and the national anthem played before the mayor of the village, Yuni Kartika, presented mementoes to the chef de missions of the contingents. Kartika, a former badminton player, hoped the athletes from the continent would raise their levels, fighting against odds. 

Hockey players, swimmers and handball players made up the Indian presence at the ceremony, with many other athletes gearing up at the training venues. 

Coach confident

Men’s coach Harendra Singh said the team was in good shape ahead of the crucial competition where the winners’ will get a spot at the Olympics.

“We have prepared well and the bad memories of the Commonwealth Games have been well and truly erased, after the Champions Trophy show and the series against New Zealand,” he said.

The men’s team will play a practice game against Bangladesh on Friday while the women will warm-up with a game against Japan, also on Friday.

The swimmers, back after a training session, also expressed happiness with the preparations. “We have trained well and we hope to come up with good performances,” said India’s coach Pradeep Kumar.

There were reports that the Indians were unhappy with the small rooms and a couple of players confirmed it. “It is too small even for us, then imagine the plight of men,” said a couple of Indian women athletes but an official brushed it aside, stating that it wasn’t a major issue. 

“If you throw a stone into the mud, it splashes on your body, you should remember that,” he said.

Handball team out

The men's handball players, meanwhile, were busy taking pictures after becoming the first team to crash out of the Games.

Here on the back of a court order, the men lost to Chinese Taipei 38-28 and then were beaten 32-25 by Bahrain. Out of contention now, they will be here till August 31, playing the classification matches.