Rio de Janeiro: With less than a week to go for the start of the Rio Olympics, the Indian contingent members have begun reaching the Olympic Village.
With almost half of the contingent already here and the two hockey teams joining on Friday evening, the contingent is almost full strength.
“It’s great to get to the Village and get used to the facilities. It is a long journey to Rio and it is important that our boys and girls get here well in advance to get acclimatised,” Chef de Mission of the Indian contingent Rakesh Gupta said in a release.
The official welcoming ceremony for the Indian team will be held on Monday. All teams are given specific slots and a brief but elegant ceremony is held to officially welcome them into the Olympic Village, even though they have been staying in it for a few days.
“The welcome ceremony is an official function and the Indian tri-colour as also the national anthem will be played. It is also a team bonding exercise in a way,” Gupta said.
“The athletes are also getting to know their teammates from different disciplines. Throughout the season, they meet players from the same sport, but here they get a great chance to mingle with others, both national and international. That’s what makes Olympics so unique.”
The archery team was the first to arrive in Rio and others include athletics team, boxers and shooters.
Joining the other shooters who arrived a couple of days earlier, was London Olympic bronze medallist, Gagan Narang. He was accompanied by Chain Singh.
“We are coming from Switzerland and it has been a long journey. It is always nice to get to an Olympic Games and the focus is now on the event,” said the experienced Narang as Chain nodded.
The Indian contingent members have been getting used to the Village and the various activities here. Many of the athletes after training were entertaining themselves at the Village Plaza and the Virtual Reality set up here.
Set amidst mountains in Barra in Rio, the Olympic Village has 31 buildings, which will house nearly 15,000 athletes and officials.
It is a mini city by itself and has virtually every facility including gyms, polyclinics, entertainment centres and a huge dinning hall with food from every part of the world.
All the residential buildings have been provided with WiFi and internet facilities.