London Spy

India up in arms over Olympic gatecrasher

India's mystery gatecrasher

Furious Indian officials are demanding answers from organisers about the apparent lack of security after a woman gatecrashed India's athletes' parade at the Olympic opening ceremony.

A woman in red and blue walked close to flag-bearing wrestler Sushil Kumar on Friday, in complete contrast to female members of the contingent who were wearing yellow saris and blue blazers.

The woman's identity was originally a mystery, but subsequent investigation has revealed that she was one of the thousands-strong volunteer cast who had managed to stay in the stadium and join the Indian athletes.

"How did they allow her in? It was a security lapse," Indian Olympic Association vice president Tarlochan Singh said.

"She walked along in the front line. Her dress was totally different. She was not wearing an identity card. This should have been noticed at an earlier stage but nobody bothered."

Brigadier P K Muralidharan Raja, the acting chef de mission of the contingent, was equally furious.

"The Indian contingent was shown for hardly 10 seconds in the TV coverage and the entire focus sadly was on this lady, instead of the athletes," he said.

The extravagant opening ceremony, hailed around the world as a huge success, was watched by a packed 60,000 crowd in the Olympic stadium.

London Games organisers said they were looking into the possible security breach. India websites said the mystery woman was a postgraduate student from Bangalore.

Security concerns dogged the run up to the Games with the British government having to draft in thousands of troops to help guard Olympic venues after private contractor G4S said it could not supply the staff required.

"This was bizarre. We will ask for an apology," Raja told the Times of India.

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

Indian media reported that the woman was a postgraduate student from Bangalore, but Games chief Sebastian Coe confirmed only that she had been identified and did not give her identity.

"She made it into the opening ceremony. She obviously should not have been there," Coe said.

"I can now confirm that she was a cast member. She was slightly over excited."

Reuters

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London Spy is the place to keep you informed on all the news in and around the 2012 Olympics. From torch tours to ticket touts, from Greco Roman wrestling to Stratford International maintenance, from Lord Coe to Wenlock and Mandeville, we will have all the slightly left field stories covered.

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