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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sushil kumar leads India in Olympic Parade - and Aruba - who / where ?

The greatest arena for Sports – Olympics, got off to a spectacular start and due to the timing, at India, we were not able to relish the opening show.  This morning was looking at the highlights of the Opening ceremony.

The traditional part of the ceremonies starts with a "Parade of Nations", during which most participating athletes march into the stadium, country by country. It is not compulsory for athletes to participate in the opening ceremonies.  Each country's delegation is led by a sign with the name of their country and by their nation's flag and one naturally gets emotional seeing their own Country as also their favourite athletes marching in. 

Traditionally (starting at the 1928 Summer Olympics), Greece enters first, due to its historical status as the progenitor of the Olympics, while the host nation marches last. All other participating teams march after Greece and before the host nation, in order according to a language that the organizing committee for those games selects, which is usually the dominant language in the area of the host city. Announcers announce each country's name in English and French, as they both are the official languages of the Olympics, and the dominant language of the area of the host city, if neither English nor French are the dominant languages.

Huge cheers welcomed the colourful Indian delegation into the Olympic Park during the opening ceremony of the London Games. The 81-strong Indian contingent, the biggest ever, was led by wrestler Sushil Kumar, a bronze medallist in the 2008 Beijing Games. It was a smartly dressed Indian contingent. The men wore yellow safas, navy blue blazers, cream-coloured trousers, off-white shirts and ties, and the women were dressed in elegant sarees.  There of course is a large contingent of Officials and support staff as well.  .

Four years ago, India won three medals, gold for shooter Abhinav Bindra and bronze medals for Sushil and boxer Vijender Singh – and we eternally hope to improve the medal tally to double figures !!

Leading the contingent as flag-bearer  is a great honour and there were days of speculation as to who it would be, before it fell on wrestler Sushil kumar.   Sushil Kumar won the gold medal in the 66 kg freestyle competition at the FILA 2010 World Wrestling Championships and a bronze medal in the Men's 66kg Freestyle Wrestling event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  The names of top boxer Vijender Singh, tennis legend Leander Paes and ace shooter Abhinav Bindra were also doing the rounds for the honour.  Ajit Pal Singh has been named the chef de mission of the Indian contingent by the IOA.

The games are being telecast live in ESPN Star Sports and all Olympic events in which Indian athletes are competing will be shown on Doordarshan (DD).

Naturally, there was a larger contingent from Australia and they generally return with many medals too.  Then came Aruba…. Aruba – who ? – with a tiny contingent.   Understand that Aruba has never had more than 4 athletes representing in any edition of the Games. They are competing in Judo, Swimming and Weighlifting. 
the contingent from Aruba....

Aruba is a 33 km-long island of the Lesser Antilles in the southern Caribbean Sea, located 27 km north of the coast of Venezuela and approximately 130 km east of Guajira Peninsula (Colombia). Aruba and all the Dutch and former-Dutch islands in the Antilles together, are commonly referred to as the Netherlands Antilles (or the Dutch Antilles). Aruba is one of the four constituent countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands, together with the Netherlands, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten whose citizens share a single nationality: Dutch citizen. Aruba has no administrative subdivisions, but for census purposes is divided into eight regions. Its capital is Oranjestad. It has a land area of 179 square kilometres (69 sq mi) and is densely populated with a total of 101,484 inhabitants at the 2010 Census.

--- and just for comparison, the metropolis of Chennai itself is- 426.7 km2 (164.48 sq mi)

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.


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