The Indian men’s hockey team is all set to miss the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics amid speculations that some issues with the ceremonial dresses for the parade to take place at the Maracana Stadium, compelled the players to take such unfortunate step.
Hockey India president Narinder Batra took to social media to confirm the news. However, Batra said that the women’s team will participate in the ceremony.
“It is correct that Indian Men Hockey Team will not participate in the Opening Ceremony on 5th August 2015. The Indian Women Hockey Team is and will be Participating in the Opening Ceremony,” he wrote.
“The kit that was handed to the players has not fit most of them. The players didn’t have the time to check the fittings since they reached Rio quite late and were given the kit on the day they started their trip,” a source said.
Batra revealed that while the dresses were delivered to women a couple of days before their departure to Brazil, the men received it on the day of their arrival and so could not try it.
“All shortcomings in them were got resolved by 12th July, i,e the day the Indian Women Hockey Team left for Rio via the USA,” he added.
“The Ceremonial Dress for Men was received on 24th July 2016, i.e the same day the Indian Men Hockey Team left for Rio via Spain, hence the Ceremonial Dress for the inaugural function could not be tried,” he added.
Meanwhile, Batra also urged the Indian Olympic Association to ensure that such events do not take place in the future.
“We would now not like to go into the issue of FITTING or NOT PROPER FITTING of the ceremonial dress for March past. BUT would request IOA and Chef De Mission of India to be more careful for 2020 Tokyo Olympics, since taking part in Inaugural function under National Flag is an Honour for all Athletes and it is once in a lifetime opportunity for the Athletes.”
Now one report published by the Press Trust of India also says that the Indian team is skipping the ceremony in order to stay fresh for its Group B opener against Ireland scheduled on Saturday.
“We have a match tomorrow, so we don’t want to drain the players since the ceremony will go on for long,” Batra told PTI.
The team will be riding high on confidence after their brilliant performances in the last couple of months and would be desperate to end India’s medal drought. The Indian team last won a medal in hockey when they defeated Spain in 1980 to win their eighth gold medal