Indian flag hoisted in the games village

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Beijing, Aug 7 (UNI) Amid the strains of the National Anthem, the Indian Tricolour was hoisted in the Olympic Games Village here this evening.

At a small but impressive function, apart from India, flags of four other countries Uruguay, Slovenia, San Marino and Montenegro were also hoisted.

Welcoming the sportpersons, Village Mayor Chen Zhi Li wished them luck and hoped that they will follow the spirit of the Olympic charter.

The Indian sportspersons, barring boxers, were present in full strength along with IOA president Suresh Kalmadi, Secretary General Randhir Singh and several other IOA officials.

Sports Minister MS Gill also joined the function later, while boxers were busy with their training programme.

Indian Chef De Mission K Murugan and Mayor Li exchanged souvenirs as part of the protocol.

''Though it is my fifth Olympic and every time I have tried to attend the flag hoisting ceremony. It gives me high. The National anthem and the flutter of the tricolour is something I love to hear and watch at this ceremony,'' said tennis star Leander Paes.

Other sportspersons including Manavjit Singh Sandhu, Sania Mirza, Mahesh Bhupathi, Dola Banerjee, Anup Sridhar, Sunitha Rao, Anjali Bhagwat, Avneet Sidhu were also impressed with the ceremony.

Kalmadi expressed the hope that performance of the Indian sportspersons will be much improved and better this time.

''I am confident that we will have few podium finishes this time,'' he said.

Deputy Chef de Mission Baljit Singh Sethi said though, he was hopeful of Shooters winning the medals, he added, ''We are not putting pressure on any of the sportspersons.'' Sethi, who is also the secretary general of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), said, ''We have prepared well and now rest I leave it to the almighty.'' UNI HSB CS BD1922

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