Rio 2016: Indian embassy comes to the team’s rescue

"We are trying to make things as comfortable as possible for our athletes. All their demands and requests have been met," said the Indian chef de mission, Rakesh Gupta.

Indian athlete Kunhi Muhammad shoots a selfie with performers after the welcome ceremony at the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro.   -  AP

The Indian contingent has sought the help of the Indian embassy to buy television sets and furniture to install them at the Games Village.

Earlier, the Indian hockey team had made a request for provision of television and furniture in the players’ apartments. India’s chef de mission Rakesh Gupta responded by giving the television and furniture in his office to the hockey team.

Once the organisers quoted the agreement they had with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) with regard to their inability to provide more television and furniture, the chef de mission sought help from the Indian embassy to meet the requirements.

“Unfortunately, Rio 2016 is only providing TVs for the chef de mission office and the TV lounge in the common spaces. The furniture is provided according to the guidelines confirmed and agreed with the IOC. You are welcome to come to the Rate Card Desk and check if there are items available for purchase,’’ was the organising committee’s response to the Indian contingent’s request.

After the request from the hockey team, the athletics squad also made a similar request.

“Now we have decided to install one TV set on each of the floors and also put additional chairs. The equipment is expected to be placed in the apartments in the next few days,’’ said Rakesh Gupta, in a statement to the media.

Even if it buys television sets, the Indian contingent would still be at the mercy of the organising committee, as the feasibility of cabling etc. needs to be confirmed.

The Indian team has agreed to pay for the installation and cabling as well. “We are trying to make things as comfortable as possible for our athletes. All their demands and requests have been met,” said Gupta.

Earlier, on Tuesday, the Indian contingent, with its president N. Ramachandran, was accorded a formal welcome at the Village. The Indian contingent responded by presenting a pair of silver elephant and gold-plated peacock statuettes to the Mayor of the Games Village, Janeth Arcain, a former basketball player and two-time Olympic medal winner.

The Indian shooters meanwhile quietly put up with the discomfiture of stinking drain holes. They were also trying to cope with the bland food, lack of entertainment, and the missing Olympic flavour and involvement of the people at the range.

“The range is still being prepared and there is not a single Rio 2016 logo anywhere. It is as it was when we left during the World Cup in April,” observed Ronak Pandit, coach and husband of Heena Sidhu, the World record holder, who is aiming to create history by winning a medal in air pistol.