Indian tennis legend Vijay Amritraj on Monday said it was sad to see that country’s athletes could not participate under the national flag at the ongoing Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

Due to the ban on Indian Olympic Association (IOA), three Indian athletes are competing under the IOC flag at the Games.

“It’s really sad to see that Indian players are not competing under the national flag. I hope they carry the tri-colour at the closing ceremony,” Amritraj said while speaking at the inaugural session of a four-day conference, Next Step 2014, Using Sport for Good.

“I was able to play under the national flag, wherever I played. The Indian anthem was always played because I was there. There’s no greater pride than that,” he said.

Amritraj, who was recently presented the Davis Cup Committment award by the ITF, narrated many anecdotes of his life to emphasise the role that sport played in his life.

The 60-year-old said if he could be converted into a popular tennis player from a bed-ridden child in a Chennai hospital, it was because of sport.

He said he learnt more by travelling and playing than being in a school or in an educational institute.

Amritraj also said sport helps in transcending borders and shared how he convinced the then Indian Prime Minister in 1987 to bring Israeli Davis Cup team to India for Davis Cup despite having no connection with that country.

“There were no diplomatic ties at that time, no embassy.

But I spoke to the Prime Minister and we got the team here.

Sport can breakdown the barriers,” he said.

He said “sport has taken a turn for better in India” but more needs to be done so that we can win more medals at the Olympic Games.


No Indian flag at SochiFebruary 8, 2014

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