x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

India demands ceremony apology over Olympics gatecrasher

Mystery woman who gatecrashed the Indian delegation at the Olympic opening ceremony may have been a student who was a member of the cast.

India's flag bearer Sushil Kumar with the woman in red Mike Blake / Reuters
India's flag bearer Sushil Kumar with the woman in red Mike Blake / Reuters

Indian officials are demanding an apology after a young woman gatecrashed the London Olympics opening ceremony to march at the head of the country's delegation.

The woman, wearing blue trousers and a red jacket that was in sharp contrast to the yellow saris of other female team members, was shown alongside the Indian flag bearer, Sushil Kumar, at the head of 40 athletes.

She was identified by the Deccan Chronicle, an Indian English language newspaper in Hyderabad, as Madhura Nagendra, a post-graduate student from Bangalore who now lives in London.

The paper claimed she had posted her Olympic passes on her Facebook account, which has since been deactivated.

Sebastian Coe, the head of the London organising committee, described the woman as "a cast member who got slightly over excited".

"We have been looking at security but she didn't just walk in off the street," Lord Coe said. "She shouldn't have been there but she clearly started in that venue. I will be speaking to the Indian delegation."

The head of the Indian delegation, P K M Raja, said the woman had "embarrassed us in front of the world".

Calling the incident "bizarre", he said the Indian team would be demanding an apology.

"The Indian contingent was shown for just 10 seconds and to think this lady hogged all the limelight," said Mr Raja.

* Reuters, Agence France-Presse, Associated Press