Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra could be India’s flag bearer during the opening ceremony of the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) may pick the 24-year-old Chopra to lead the country’s contingent during the inauguration of the 2022 CWG on July 28.
“The flag bearer may be Neeraj Chopra. We will check his availability for opening ceremony,” IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta told PTI. The qualification round of the men’s javelin throw competition will be held on August 5 while the final will be on August 7.
Chopra won the javelin throw event in the Tokyo Olympics last year to become only the second Indian after Abhinav Bindra to win an individual Olympic gold medal. His gold was the country’s first Olympic medal in athletics. Chopra was also the flag bearer of the Indian contingent during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.
India will send a 322-member strong contingent to the July 28 to August 8 Birmingham Games, out of which 215 will be athletes (both able bodied and para athletes). There will be 107 female athletes. Cycling Federation of India chairman and IOA joint secretary Onkar Singh will be India’s chef de mission at the Games. Rajesh Bhandari, Anil Dhupar and Prashant Kushwaha will assist Singh as general managers.
In January, ousted IOA president Narinder Batra had named senior vice-president RK Anand as the chef de mission of the CWG. But the current dispensation under acting IOA president Anil Khanna has made a fresh announcement.