Tennis star Sania Mirza arrived at the Games Village of the Rio Olympics and so did the table tennis squad while the Indian hockey team won its practice match against Spain. Sania was the first tennis player to arrive into the Olympic Village. Sania, playing in her third Olympics, was coming in from Montreal, where she was playing the Rogers Cup.
She will partner Prarthana Thombare in the women s doubles and will play with Rohan Bopanna in the mixed doubles. The women’s doubles begins on August 6 and mixed doubles on August 10.
“It has been a long flight, but one is always excited about Olympics and playing for India,” said Sania. “I am sure all the pairs are fighting fit. The Bryan brothers have pulled out, but am sure the Americans have enough players to put up a strong team.”
Sania was received at the Village by the Chef de Mission, Rakesh Gupta and presented with the Olympic Souvenir being given to all athletes.
On Sunday, the table tennis quartet of Sharath Kamal, Soumyajit Ghosh, Mouma Das and Manika Batra, also checked into the Village.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Sharath is playing his third Olympics, while Soumyajit is playing in his second. Mouma Das played at the 2004 Games in Athens, where Sharath made his maiden appearance. Manika Batra will be playing at the Olympics for the first time.
Sharath, the veteran, said, “The Olympics is the biggest stage and I want to do well this time because I have been twice before and I missed out in London. Who knows if I will be back for Olympics, so I am keen on a strong showing.”
Meanwhile, following a request from the men’s hockey coach, Roelant Oltmans, the Indian contingent’s Chef de Mission, Rakesh Gupta has given the TV set in his apartment to the team. “The Hockey coach, Roelant Oltmans had wanted some TV sets and chairs and tables. I gave my TV set and table and chair to them so that the players could be comfortable.
Meanwhile we have made a request to the Organisers to give the hockey team some more furniture and TV sets, but they seem have run out of them,” said Gupta.
The Indian team, which flew in from Madrid two days ago, got down to its job with a good 2-1 win over Spain in a practice match on Sunday evening.
The Indians had lost two practice games to Spain in Madrid before coming here. Skipper, PR Sreejesh said, “The weather was very hot in Spain. We were coming from very good weather in Bengaluru and it was very hot and humid, almost 40 degrees in Madrid. So it was good to get a game in Rio against Spain and we played well.”