India raring to go

Our athletes are happy and preparing well. Looking at the overall scenario, I am sure our athletes will definitely better their performance from London. Qualifying in such big number has been great. Many will progress to top-10, top-8... Many will make the finals, and some will get the medals.

Rakesh Gupta, India's Chef de Mission with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, Thomas Bach, in Rio.   -  Special Arrangement

Members of the Indian Olympic contingent arrive at Rio de Janeiro International Airport.   -  AP

We are all happy here, but a little tired. It takes time to settle down and the Athletes Village in Rio is still getting the finishing touches. The organisers are trying to sort out the small issues. The security is very good. It is 24x7 and the security is moving all the time. They don’t rest.

The transport is a bit of a problem. The drivers have GPS, but they sometimes lose their way as the routes are all new.

The language is also a barrier. Not many understand English. Several countries have already raised this issue. But we have been told that the University volunteers will be there from August 1. So, we expect better communication then.

Our athletes are happy and preparing well. The dope issues back home have not affected the morale of the contingent. In fact, the anti-doping people have taken the room list from us, and there will be out of competition tests here too.

The athletes are arriving in batches, from training and from competitions. The ceremonial and other kits are being brought in batches from India for those who are not reaching here from home. The boxers brought the kit for rowing and shooting. We are making arrangements for everyone.

Abhinav Bindra, who will carry the flag at the Opening Ceremony, has also reached.

Looking at the overall scenario, I am sure our athletes will definitely better their performance from London. Qualifying in such big number has been great. Many will progress to top-10, top-8… Many will make the finals, and some will get the medals.

I’m sure, we will cross the double-digit barrier.

One thing I am most happy about and which has made all the athletes and coaches happy is that there is Indian food at the Village. We have dal (lentil) almost every day, and two other Indian dishes like alu gobi (potato-cauliflower), mixed vegetable. Of course, we are not getting the Indian chappati (bread), but the Arabian style chappati is also fine for our people. There is basmati rice. Food is one of the key elements to ensure quality performance. It is some achievement that we have been able to get our food on the menu after constant communication with the organisers.

Hope the fine setting and arrangements lead us to some memorable performances.

As told to Kamesh Srinivasan