Even as the Rio Olympics have begun with the largest-ever Indian contingent, several activities have taken place in India to mark the games.
A Run for Rio was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which 20000 school going children took part.
The ‘Wall of Best Wishes’ has been put up at India Gate lawns by the Youth Affairs and Sports Ministry where common people can post their Best Wishes to the Rio participants Indian athletes. Twitter handle #Khelo India @ India Sports can be used to change the background of icon of twitter account with the spirit of Rio.
An Olympic exhibition has opened to continue till 21 August 2016 at different locations of NDMC and MCD areas. In these locations, giant size screens have been put so that people in large group can watch Olympics games as they happen.
The official song for India for the Rio Olympics ‘Born a Champion’ voiced and written by Fakira (Ahran Choudhary) has been launched at the Olympic Carnival by Sports Minister Vijay Goel here.
Based on the story of an athlete, the RAP track captures the undying spirit of a sports man, the essence of the fight an athlete goes through in his life to prove his talent to others, but more importantly to himself.
A tribute by Bollywood to the Indian athletes, the track is composed by Aditya Dev – who composed the music for Bajirao Mastani – and cinematography by Vishal Seth, who is a well known fashion photographer and cinematographer. Akshay Kumar lent his support for the making of the song and video and is a non-commercial initiative.
The song climaxes with #wewantgold, all Indian rooting for, hoping for, dreaming for, and waiting for the gold medals that Indian sportsmen would be winning at the games for the country.
Communications Minister Manoj Sinha has unveiled the Commemorative Postage Stamps on Rio Olympic Games and said the unique initiative will motivate the Rio-bound Indian athletes.
Issuing stamps on games of wrestling, badminton, shooting and boxing, the Minister said the Department of Posts had always issued special stamps on important occasions to rekindle the spirit of patriotism and for advancement of National Interest.
Goel said in a statement that this is the first time in the history of Olympics that on the request of the Government of and Indian Olympic Association that the International Olympic Committee has agreed to provide Indian cuisine in the Olympics Village Games Kitchen. The will help players feel at home and is expected to bring out better performance.
A sum of Rs one crore has been transferred to Indian Embassy in Brazil for buying any additional items for the Indian contingent.
Goel said his officers were available at Rio as well as in Delhi to attend to the problems of athletes. The Indian Embassy in Brazil is providing all necessary support.
This has been the first Olympics in which the Government has made efforts to connect the Olympics with the common man and youth so that there is an environment and fervor of Olympic Games in the country which will push the sports among youth which is good for the country in the long run, he said.
Unprecedented efforts have been undertaken in preparations of Rio Olympics by the Ministry by launching special schemes, such as Target Olympic Podium through which customized training with 34 Foreign Coaches and foreign exposure was provided to all athletes qualifying for Rio. In addition, daily allowance of the athletes has been doubled to 100$, extra physio-therapists masseurs have been sent to Rio.
Mental Trainers have been provided to athletes for getting a winning attitude. An amount of Rs.160 crore has been spent on preparations of the athletes for the Rio Olympics making an average of more than Rs. one crore on each athlete who has qualified.
Athletes had been sent to Rio well in advance of around average 15 days so that they can acclimatize and feel comfortable unlike earlier Olympics where they were going just 2 to 4 days before the beginning of the events, the Minister said.
Meanwhile, Indian-origin South African filmmaker Anant Singh has been newly elected to the International Olympic Committee.
Singh was elected at the 129th Session ahead of the Olympic Games Rio 2016 where the election of eight new IOC Members was announced.
Singh had been hand-picked by Nelson Mandela to make a film on his life, ‘Mandela’.
Speaking from Rio de Janeiro, Singh said, “It is a huge honour for me to be elected at the 129th IOC Session, as an individual member, to serve on the IOC. I look forward to making a meaningful contribution to furthering the spirit of Olympism and the ideals of the Olympic Movement, especially on the African continent. I am humbled to be in the company of my friend and mentor, Sam Ramsamy who was re-elected to the IOC at the same session.”
Other newly elected members are Nita Ambani (India); Sari Essayah (Finland); Ivo Ferriani (Italy); Luis Moreno (Colombia); Auvita Rapilla (Papua New Guinea); and Tricia Smith (Canada) and Karl Stoss (Austria).