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IANS

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has selected Manpreet Singh, the captain of the men's hockey team, as co-flagbearer of Team India for the opening ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games alongside badminton star P.V. Sindhu.

The decision to name Singh, who led the Indian men's hockey team to a bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021, as the second flagbearer for the said occasion was arrived at after the IOA was intimated by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee that two flagbearers -- one male and one female -- must be named by each country for the opening ceremony.

The four-member committee, comprising IOA Acting President Anil Khanna, IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta, IOA Treasurer Anandeshwar Panday, and Team India Chef de Mission Rajesh Bhandari, that named Sindhu as the first flagbearer earlier on Wednesday was also in charge of selecting Manpreet Singh as a flag-bearer, the IOA said in a release. Usually, each national contingent is asked to name a flagbearer for the ceremonies.

The selection process followed for zeroing in on the male flagbearer was the same as naming the female flagbearer. The four-member committee had initially shortlisted Singh alongside boxer Amit Panghal and paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal before Khanna and Mehta chose Manpreet for the honour.

IOA Acting President Anil Khanna said, "Manpreet Singh ended Indian hockey's 41-year Olympic medal drought with a bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. He is one of the finest athletes to have ever represented India on the international stage. We are delighted to name him and Sindhu as the two flagbearers who will lead the Indian contingent out at the Parade of Nations on Thursday during the opening ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games."

IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta said, "As with the three female shortlisted athletes, their three male counterparts were all deserving candidates, but we decided that Singh be named a flagbearer with Sindhu because of the leadership he showed at Tokyo 2020, which played a part in our men's hockey team clinching a sensational bronze medal."

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