Carrying the hopes of a billion people of gold medals on their shoulders a traditional Olympic ceremony greeted the Indian contingent at the formal welcome ceremony in the Games Village for the 31st edition starting on August 5 , 2016. The Indian contingent was elegantly dressed in white India tracksuits and looked upbeat. The gala ceremony lasted about 45 minutes. It saw more than half the Indian contingent gather at the venue.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President N. Ramachandran and Chef de Mission Rakesh Gupta presented two gifts to the Mayor of the Village, two-time Olympic medallist Janeth Arcain.
One of them was a pair of silver elephants and another was a gold plated peacock with the IOA logo embossed at the bottom of the frame.
The show, comprising Brazilian rhythms, greeted the Indian delegation alongside those from Bahamas, Burkina Faso, Gambia and Norway. The ceremony included raising each nation’s flag and playing their national anthems.
The show started with a tribal dance before moving on to an assortment of Brazilian rhythms, including forró, samba and bossa nova.
Music by late Brazilian legends Raul Seixas and Tim Maia was played besides some latest hits.
After the music and dance, Mayor Arcain gave a speech on the importance of the Games.
The majority of the Indian contingent has already arrived and is residing at the Village. Those not on Tuesday afternoon were away at training venues.
Those present included shooters Jitu Rai, Prakash Nanjappa, Gurpreet Singh and Chain Singh, athletes Khushbir Kaur and Manpreet Kaur, the women’s hockey team, swimmers Sajan Prakash and Shivani Katariya and some of their coaches and officials.
Also present were officials from the Indian embassy in Brazil and India.
The Indians will be fielding its largest continent of around 120 athletes in 15 disciplines. Last time in London, India won six medals, two silver and four bronze.
The Olympic Village was officially opened on July 24. The Village has 31 buildings and India is housed in Building 31.
The village will host more than 17,000 athletes and officials during its peak times.
It is built in the neighbourhood of Recreio dos Bandeirantes in the west of Rio and is close to Barra Olympic Park, the main venue cluster.
The complex also features leisure areas, cycle-paths, a huge gym and giant dinning hall with an area of 27,000 square metres and a capacity to cater for 5,000 at the same time, serving up to 60,000 meals per day.
The guests will be offered a wide range of Brazilian and international cuisine including Indian and Asian food.