Double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu was on Wednesday named flagbearer of the Indian contingent for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games beginning in Birmingham on Thursday. Later in the night, India men’s hockey captain Manpreet Singh was also announced as the flagbearer.

“The decision was arrived at after the IOA was intimated by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee that two Flagbearers – one male and one female – must be named by each nation for the Opening Ceremony,” a statement from the Indian Olympic Association said.

The Indian Olympic Association said that the other two female athletes in consideration were Mirabai Chanu and Lovlina Borgohain, both medallists at the Tokyo Olympics last year. Among male athletes, boxer Amit Panghal and paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal were in consideration.

“It’s a great honour to be bestowed with the responsibility to lead the contingent and hold the flag at such an august gathering,” Sindhu said in a statement via Badminton Association of India. “I am extremely happy and I wish all my fellow contingent all the best for the Games. I would like to thank IOA also for choosing me as the flagbearer.”

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“It’s with great pleasure that we announce PV Sindhu as the Flagbearer for Team India. The other two athletes, Chanu and Borgohain, were immensely deserving, too, but we went ahead with Sindhu because she is a two-time Olympic medallist. We expect Sindhu will continue to do well and perform with excellence at these Games,” acting IOA President Anil Khanna was quoted as saying in a statement.

Khanna later added in the second statement, “Manpreet Singh ended Indian hockey’s 41-year Olympic medal drought with a bronze at the Tokyo Olympics last year. He is one of the finest athletes to have ever represented India on the international stage. We are delighted to name him and Sindhu as the two Flagbearers who will lead the Indian contingent out at the Parade of Nations tomorrow during the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.”

Rajesh Bhandari, Team India’s Chef de Mission for the Games said that a maximum of 164 participants can take part from the Indian contingent in the Parade of Nations in the Opening Ceremony, scheduled for July 28, 2022.

“The count of 164 will include athletes and team officials. The final list will be drawn up by this evening, gauging the availability of the athletes,” said Bhandari.

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A former world champion, Sindhu will be seeking to add the gold medal at CWG to her collection, having won the silver and bronze in the last two editions at Gold Coast and Glasgow. She has been in good form on tour this year.

Sindhu was also the flagbearer at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. In the three editions prior to that, the honour went to members of the shooting contingent.

Neeraj Chopra was reportedly in line to be the flagbearer for the contingent, but he has had to withdraw from the Games due to a groin strain.

“Needless to say, I am hurt about not being able to defend my title and missing out on another opportunity to represent the nation. I am especially disappointed about losing out on the opportunity to be Team India’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony, an honour I was looking forward to having in a few day’s time,” the Olympic champion had said in his statement.