Embarrassment at Sochi: No Indian flag at Winter Olympics

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Embarrassment at Sochi: No Indian flag at Winter Olympics
Sochi, Feb 7: As the opening ceremony for this year's Winter Olympics is under way in Sochi in Russia, India has hardly any reason to rejoice. There will be no Indian flag at the function and the three athletes from India will participate as independent contestants. Wonder why? India has been suspended from the International Olympic Committee for alleged election irregularities.

India's return to the Olympic fold is likely to take at least a month, says a NDTV report. The return will be possible only if IOC is satisfied with the way IOA elections are conducted. The Indian Olympic Association will have its fresh elections on Sunday. Had they held the elections a few days earlier, the athletes could have participated under IOA flag.

"Even if we had it a few days earlier, it would take us a month for everything to get approved. Do you think we have anything against the winter athletes of our country? This is because of the IOC's rules and regulations, and it's not our fault. I don't see any reason why we should apologise to anyone", IOA's senior vice-president Tarlochan Singh told NDTV on Friday afternoon.

Earlier in January, there were reports that at least two athletes had to pull out of the Olympics due to fund shortage. Reportedly, the government didn't release funds on time.

"We are still awaiting funds from the government because we do not have money to buy expensive clothing and equipment," said Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI) president Surendra Singh Patwal.

"Each equipment has to meet Olympic specifications. We do not get them in India, they have to come from abroad. Unless the funds come, we can't even place orders for clothing and equipment.

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