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Fri Apr 25 01:55:36 SAST 2014

India gatecrasher identified as cast member

Mark Meadows, Reuters | 29 July, 2012 14:000 Comments
India's flag bearer Sushil Kumar holds the national flag as he leads the contingent in the athletes parade during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium July 27, 2012. A mystery woman gatecrashed India's march past and the delegation are seeking an apology from the London organisers, an Indian newspaper reported on July 29. Photographs show a woman in red and blue walking close to Kumar on Friday night, in complete contrast to female members of the contingent who were wearing yellow sarees and blue blazers
Image by: Mike Blake / REUTERS

A woman who gatecrashed India’s parade at the Olympic opening ceremony was a member of the cast from the extravaganza but should not have been with the athletes, London 2012 chief Sebastian Coe said on Sunday.

Indian officials were incensed by her unauthorised presence alongside flag-bearing wrestler Sushil Kumar on Friday, wearing red and blue in complete contrast to female members of the contingent who were sporting yellow saris and blue blazers.

“She made it into the opening ceremony. She obviously should not have been there,” Coe told a news conference.

“I can now confirm that she was a cast member. She was slightly over excited.”

The apparent lack of security angered the Indian Olympic Association.

“How did they allow her in? It was a security lapse. Nobody knows who she was. She looks like an Indian,” IOA vice president Tarlochan Singh told Reuters.

“She walked along in the front line. Her dress was totally different. She was not wearing an identity card. This should have been noticed at an earlier stage, but nobody bothered.”

The lavish opening ceremony, which included hundreds of cast members and was hailed around the world as a success, was watched by a packed 60 000-strong crowd in the Olympic stadium.

Indian news websites said the woman was a postgraduate student from Bangalore.

Security concerns dogged the run up to the Games with the British government having to draft in thousands of troops to help guard Olympic venues after private contractor G4S said it could not supply enough staff.

“This was bizarre. We will ask for an apology,” acting Indian chef de mission PKM Raja was quoted as saying by the Times of India newspaper.

“The Indian contingent was shown for just 10 seconds and to think this lady hogged all the limelight.”

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