Promising gymnast Dipa Karmakar, the women’s hockey team and shooter Heena Sidhu checked into the Olympic Village on Sunday, swelling the Indian contingent at the Rio Games, beginning August 5.
Having checked in at the Olympic Village, Dipa was gung-ho as she had secured her place at the Olympics at the same venue during a Test event for the Games.
Accompanied by her coach Bisweswar Nandi, she said: "I have happy memories, so I am looking forward to the Games.”
“I have already found out where the gym is, the swimming pool and various other facilities, so we have begun to settle in,” she added.
Dipa and Nandi met the Indian contingent's Chef-de-Mission, Rakesh Gupta, who welcomed the athletes arriving at the Village.
“Abhinav Bindra, Heena Sidhu, boxer Shiva Thapa and Dipa checked in over the past couple of days, as did the women’s hockey team.
"The men’s hockey team arrived a day earlier, so we are nearing our full strength. The teething problems in the Village have been sorted out and it is improving each day. We still have six days to go for the start, and the athletes are beginning to feel comfortable,” said Gupta.
Men’s hockey coach Roelant Oltmans put his team through a session at the swimming pool and is planning to start on-field training soon.
Gupta said, “Initially, we faced some problems in transport, particularly the drivers who have language issues, and they don’t know the routes very well. The biggest issue we are facing now is the language problem. There will soon be more volunteers who are all from schools and colleges. The holidays start from August 1, so we should soon be fine.”
Regarding the food served to the Indians, he said, “I have been regularly e-mailing the organising committee of the Games for the past one year, requesting them to provide Indian vegetarian food. I am very happy that they are offering fair amount of vegetarian food for us in every meal.
“Everyday there is a dish of daal (lentils), vegetables and so on. For breakfast and dinner, there are at least two to three vegetarian dishes. For instance, we had Aloo Gobhi on Friday; Palak Paneer on Saturday. So both the athletes and we are happy that our team is getting what we are comfortable eating.”