Birmingham: Indian Boxer Olympic Bronze Medalist Lovlina Borgohain was stranded for nearly an hour after deciding to leave the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony halfway through.
The ceremony on Thursday night lasted about two hours and Lovlina, along with another member of the Indian boxing contingent, Muhammad Hussamuddin, decided to leave early for the Games Village from Alexander Stadium, a 30-minute drive away.
“We want to train in the morning, because the next day we have a match. The ceremony will go on for a while, so we thought about leaving. We asked for a taxi, but it was not available,” said Lovlina when PTI asked her why she left halfway through.
With the ceremony still underway and the duo unable to book a taxi on their own, Lovlina and Hussamuddin had no idea how to drive back to their accommodation.
They eventually took the first bus to the village near the National Exhibition Center.
The Indian delegation has been given three cars from the organizers, but their drivers were ready for the day when the athletes and officials arrived for the opening ceremony with buses.
India’s Chef de Mission Rajesh Bhandari, who happens to be the vice president of the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), was not happy with the development.
“We were in the middle of the ceremony and I learned later that she and another boxer left earlier. We all came on buses and the taxi option was not available at the time. They shouldn’t have come if they wanted to leave earlier.
“There were so many athletes who decided not to come because they had training or competition in the morning, which we fully understand. I will speak to the boxing team about this,” Bhandari said.
A total of 164 athletes and officials took part in the ceremony, which is half of the Indian contingent. The members of the women’s cricket team also decided to stay at the hotel the next morning for their opening game.
Prior to the Games, Lovlina had alleged that her coaches were constantly harassed after personal coach Sandhya Gurung was refused entry to the Games Village upon arrival. Gurung later got the accreditation of the village.
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