Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
India's Sushil Kumar carries the flag during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
India’s Olympic team abuzz about mystery woman
First Published Jul 29 2012 01:46 pm • Last Updated Jul 29 2012 01:46 pm

London » A mysterious woman in red has caused an international incident at the London Olympics.

Indian officials are mystified — and miffed — after an unknown young woman managed to march with the country’s athletes and officials during the opening ceremony Friday night.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Games organizers on Sunday downplayed security concerns around the unscripted moment, saying the interloper was a ceremony cast member and had been screened before entering the Olympic Park.

Images from Friday’s ceremony showed a young woman in turquoise jeans and a red jacket marching alongside Indian flag bearer Sushil Kumar at the head of the delegation of 40 athletes in bright yellow and navy blue.

"We are totally dazed," Indian press atttache Harpal Singh Bedi said. "How can a person without any accreditation walk past?"

Indian officials said they had no idea who the woman was. Indian media identified her as Madhura Nagendra, a graduate student from the southern city of Bangalore who had been living in London.

Her father, K. Nagendra, was quoted by the Press Trust of India news agency as saying that his daughter had been chosen to dance in director Danny Boyle’s ceremony, and speculated that she might have been asked by organizers to escort India’s team into the stadium.

"This might have hurt our team’s feelings. I feel very sorry for that," he was quoted as saying.

The mystery woman case dominated Indian media’s coverage of the opening of the games.

"Who’s That Girl?" asked the front page of The Hindustan Times.


story continues below
story continues below

"Leaky London: Unaccounted presence in march past," said a headline in the Times of India. The newspaper said the mystery woman had "brazenly gatecrashed the party, raising security concerns and adding to the anger over India’s blink-and-miss appearance on global TV screens."

Bedi said India’s acting chef de mission, P.K.M. Raja, had sent games organizers an official letter of complaint.

"I think this is definitely a security lapse," Bedi said.

But London organizing chief Sebastian Coe insisted the woman had not posed a threat to the ceremony. He told reporters she was "a cast member who clearly got slightly over-excited."

Some 10,000 volunteers performed alongside professional musicians, actors and dancers in Boyle’s spectacular ceremony.

Coe stressed the woman had been screened to get into Olympic Stadium so there had been no security breach.

"Don’t run away with the idea that she walked in off the street," Coe said, adding that games officials "will have our own discussions" about the incident.

There was perhaps a touch of Indian satisfaction in Britain’s perceived lapse, which comes as India is suffering its own Olympic embarrassment. An Indian court has barred Indian Olympic Association chief Suresh Kalmadi from attending the London opening ceremony, citing the "national interest."

Kalmadi is out on bail after spending nine months in jail awaiting trial on corruption charges related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

India also was stung by British media criticism of the chaotic preparations for those 2010 games in New Delhi, which were marred by construction delays and a budget that ballooned from $412 million to $15 billion.

Bedi said the opening ceremony intrusion did not reflect poorly on India.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.