Badminton ace PV Sindhu and India men's hockey captain Manpreet Singh have been named India’s flagbearers for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games 2022, which will be held on July 28 at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham.
This is the second time that PV Sindhu will be India’s flagbearer at the opening ceremony of the CWG, having led the contingent at the Gold Coast 2018 edition.
The organisers of the Birmingham 2022 Games mandated two flagbearers – one male and one female – from each country at the opening ceremony.
Fellow Olympic medallists Mirabai Chanu and Lovlina Borgohain were the other female candidates under consideration for the honour. Boxer Amit Panghal and table tennis veteran Sharath Kamal were the other male prospects.
“The other two athletes, (Mirabai) Chanu and (Lovlina) Borgohain, were immensely deserving, too, but we went ahead with PV Sindhu because she is a two-time Olympic medallist,” said IOA acting president, Anil Khanna.
Similarly, Manpreet Singh was chosen for ending India’s 41-year-old Olympic medal drought with a bronze at Tokyo 2020 last year.
India can have a maximum of 164 participants - including athletes and team officials - at the opening ceremony. A final list is yet to be prepared.
The IOA had delayed the announcement of the flagbearer following a COVID-19 scare for PV Sindhu, according to the Times of India. The Indian badminton ace’s COVID test, when she landed in Birmingham, showed irregularities and forced her into isolation. A second test later, however, returned negative for the coronavirus.
Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra was originally slated to be given the honour of being India’s flagbearer but the javelin ace had to pull out of CWG 2022 due to an injury.