Best Practice

India Celebrates Independence Day at the Olympians Reunion Centre by EY

17 | 8 | 2016

A capacity crowd of Indian Olympians, officials, dignitaries and members of the local Indian community in Rio gathered at the Olympians Reunion Centre by EY in Rio de Janeiro to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Indian independence.

The event, organised by the Olympians Association of India (OAI) in collaboration with the Government of India and the Indian Olympic Association, welcomed guests at the special reception to commemorate the country’s national day.

Sixty-five members of India’s Olympic Team, who had finished competing, arrived by bus from the Athletes’ Village. The team members were in high spirits and made the most of their experience at the home of Olympians in Rio – posing for photos with the Olympic torch, signing the Olympians wall and engaging with members of the Rio Indian community.

The Indian team for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is the nation's largest ever delegation with a 123 athletes in Rio representing their country. This eclipses the previous record of 83, which was set at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

General Secretary of the Olympians Association of India and WOA Board member, Malav Shroff, said:

“It was great to see lots of interaction between Indians based in Rio and the Olympians present and the spirit of the nation and the spirit of patriotism was evoked. It has been fantastic to have the Indian community gathered in one place to celebrate our country on Independence Day.”

“We were pleased to host this important event at the Olympians Reunion Centre by EY because it sends a positive message that it is the Olympians who are at the heart of sport.”

During the event the national anthem was played before speeches from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee, marking Independence Day in India, were televised to the packed room of over 200 guests. This was followed by speeches in the room from India’s Ambassador to Brazil Mr. Sunil Lal and Sports Secretary Mr. Rajeev Yadav.

India men’s Olympic hockey captain PR Sreejesh, said:

“It’s a great pleasure for us to be here because we are away from home and away from our country but still we are gathered to celebrate Independence Day among our Indian Olympians in Rio. Especially because we saw the president’s message and the prime minister’s speech so we feel like it is our home.”

“Competing for your country in the Olympic Games is a great achievement and having a place like the Olympians Reunion Centre that recognises that is really amazing and I think we should also do something like this in India that allows us to get together and share our ideas, opinions and experiences on sport in India.”

Malav Shroff added that the OAI has lots of plans in place for how they can continue to support Olympians after the Games have closed.

“After Rio we have a lot of activities planned with the Olympians Association of India (OAI) in terms of how we can take care of athletes post their athletic life so that they know that someone is going to look after them when they’re finished. We are creating a safety net, which is very essential. They’re not going to be left without backup; they can perform up to their potential knowing they have a backup after their sports life.”