Pakistan’s London 2012 chef de mission Aqil Shah wants the country’s contingent to wear shalwar kamiz in the opening ceremony today and not the western attire that the organisers have sent.
Shah revealed that he has been in constant touch with the organisers on this issue for the last five days and is not pleased with proceedings.
“We want to show our culture - just like all the other countries – and not England’s culture which is why I’m adamant that our players will only wear shalwar kamiz,” Shah told The Express Tribune from London. He added that the organisers needed to understand that Pakistan’s 39-member contingent is in London as the country’s ambassadors and should portray its culture and values.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity for these athletes and they should be allowed to show what they are.”
‘All athletes focused on the job’
Shah confirmed that he has briefed all the athletes on maintaining discipline in the opening ceremony as he does not want any mishap that could lead to embarrassment.
He claimed that all the athletes were in good shape and the mood in the camp was bright despite the stories published in The Sun with regards to the fake passport scam.
“It’s unfortunate that such a report was published to distract our athletes but I can confirm that everybody is focused on the job ahead.”
Shah added that the pleasant weather in London was helping Pakistan and that the Pakistan Olympic Association President Arif Hassan visited the Olympic Village yesterday to check the facilities while having a session with the athletes as well.
Sohail Abbas, the world record holder and Pakistan’s hockey team captain, will be the country’s flag bearer in the opening ceremony tonight.
Fighter jet scrambled after plane enters no-fly zone
Meanwhile, Britain scrambled a Royal Air Force Typhoon jet on Wednesday after a commercial airliner entered restricted airspace put in place for the London Olympics, said the Ministry of Defence.
The RAF jet was launched after air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane. But contact was soon re-established with the jet and the Typhoon was called back to base.
“We can confirm that 1Typhoon launched,” said a Ministry of Defence spokesperson.
“This was in response to a commercial aircraft that was out of communication with air traffic control services. Communications were quickly restored; no further action was required.”
Britain has mounted its biggest peacetime security operation to guard the Olympics. (with additional input from AFP)
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2012.