NEW DELHI: Bearing the national flag at the Olympic Games is a matter of great pride to any sportsperson. The Indian Olympic Association has chosen a wrestler to lead the Indian contingent at the London Games.
The Indian wrestling team has just returned from a training camp in the United States and is hoping to do well at the London Olympics.
In the contingent that is now heading to London is Beijing bronze medallist Sushil Kumar and his friend and fellow wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt.
The duo have nine World Championships between them.
And it will be Sushil Kumar who will lead the Indian contingent, bearing the flag at the opening ceremony on July 27.
"There are over 19 wrestlers who have qualified for the Games. All of them are very good and I look forward to a good fight. I am very happy to shoulder the responsibility and I will do my best at the Games," he said.
Sushil Kumar comes from a very poor family in North India that could barely afford to give him any sports training.
It is testimony to his grit and determination that he went on to win a bronze in the 2008 Olympics and became the first Indian to win a gold medal at the FILA 2010 World Championships in Moscow.
Sushil Kumar will be walking in the footsteps of Rajyawardhan Rathore — the first Indian, post independence, to win an individual silver in 2004.
"I think it is a tremendous honour to carry the flag of a country... It is thrilling when you are holding the flag and you feel very special walking in front of the contingent and leading it," said Rajyawardhan Rathore.
Long jumper Anju Bobby George was the first Indian woman to do the honours at the Olympics in 2004.
Although Indians have not really been great achievers at the Olympic Games, over a billion people’s hopes rest on its wrestlers, shooters, archers and boxers.
Despite having a population of over one billion, India has won only seven individual medals in the Olympics so far. The saving grace being hockey, where India has won eight gold medals so far.