Indian tennis legend Leander Paes has backed the IOA’s decision to appoint Sushil Kumar as the country’s flag-bearer at the London Olympics opening ceremony, saying that the Beijing bronze-medallist wrestler deserves the honour.
Shooter Abhinav Bindra, the country’s first individual gold medallist at the last Olympics, was reportedly the preferred candidate of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) but since his 10m air rifle event is scheduled three days after the opening ceremony on July 30, the shooter wanted to focus on his preparations.
Similarly, boxer Vijender Singh’s weigh-in is scheduled for July 28, while Paes has already led the Indian contingent in the 2000 Sydney Games. Thus, the IOA decided that Sushil should do the honours this time.
“I have already been the flag bearer in the opening and closing ceremony. So I think it is really fair and I think that wrestler Sushil Kumar is well deserving of it,” Paes was quoted as saying by ‘NDTV’
“Because the Olympics come only once every four years it is only fair that other people also get a chance. I have already won a medal at the Olympics in singles,” he added.
Paes, meanwhile, admitted that he was hurt by the entire AITA selection controversy that happened last month.