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Rio 2016: From Expensive mobiles to Indian food, athletes get them all

Indian athletes were in for a pleasant surprise here at the Olympic Village on Wednesday after they were handed over an expensive mobile phone of sponsoring company along with check in.

But one Indian who is going to miss this expensive gift is national record holder in 200m, Dharamvir Singh, who failed a dope test recently. This Haryana’s lad mobile was collected by an Indian official in advance as he was to reach Rio soon.

However, with news of his failing the dope test, it has been decided to hand the mobile back to the organisers.

Dharamvir didn’t board the flight to Rio on Tuesday. He is likely to face life ban as this is his second offence. The 27-year-old sprinter is the third Rio-bound athlete to test positive after wrestler Narsingh Yadav and shot-putter Inderjeet Singh. Narsingh, however, has been cleared by India’s National Anti-Doping Agency on benefit of doubt of conspiracy.

Shudh desi khana

With the initial batch of athletes from India having settled into the Athletes’ Village here, guess what it is that has brought cheer to these sports persons? Shudh Desi Indian Khana (Indian food)!

Rakesh Gupta, India’s chef de mission at the Rio Olympics says that for the Indian contingent at the Olympic Village it was a matter of worry whether they will get vegetarian food or will be greeted with non-vegetarian continental cuisine that they cannot eat.

Gupta is also hopeful that 120-member strong Indian contingent, the largest-ever at an Olympic Games, will deliver the best results at Rio 2016.

India won six medals, two silver and four bronze, to register the country’s best-ever Olympic haul at the 2012 London Games.

More furniture at own cost

Another good news for the entertainment-starved Indian athletes here is that Gupta, after requesting the Organising Committee to provide more furniture and TV sets for the contingent, has decided to purchase the TV sets and chairs on own expense with the help of Indian Embassy here.

“Following a request from our hockey teams to provide them with more chairs and TV sets, I had spoken and also written to the Organising Committee (OC) to do so. The Organising Committee’s representative replied, saying ‘Unfortunately, Rio 2016 is only providing TVs for the Chef de Mission office and the TV Lounge on the common spaces,” said Gupta on Wednesday.

The request for the items came at the managers / coaches meeting and after OC refused to provide all, he has now requested the Indian Embassy to purchase these items for the contingent.

“Now we have decided to put one TV set on each of the floors and also put additional chairs also. The equipment is expected to be placed in the apartments in the next few days,” said Gupta.

Indian Flag hoisted

On Tuesday, the Indian Tri-colour was hoisted at the formal welcome ceremony in the Games Village amid the singing of India’s National Anthem.

More than half of the Indian contingent, elegantly dressed in white tracksuits with India written on them, appeared to be upbeat.

Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president N Ramachandran presented the Mayor of the Olympic Village Janeth Arcain, former basketball player and two-time Olympic medallist, with a pair of silver elephants and gold-plated peacock with the IOA logo embossed at the bottom of the frame.


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