Indian tennis legend Leander Paes has backed the IOA’s decision to select 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 previous Olympics, was reportedly the preferred candidate of the Indian Olympic Association but since his 10m air rifle event is scheduled three days after the opening ceremony on July 30, the shooter required to focus on his preparations.
Also, boxer Vijender Singh’s weigh-in is scheduled for July 28, whereas Paes has already led the Indian group in the 2000 Sydney Games. Thus, the IOA determined that Sushil should do the honours this time.
Paes said that “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.”
He added that “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.”
In the meantime, Paes admitted that he was hurt by the whole AITA selection controversy that happened preceding month.