London 2012: Indian Gatecrasher at Opening Ceremony Identified

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NEW DELHI – As the Indian contingent marched into the Olympic Stadium in London during the Summer Games' opening ceremony Friday night, a woman dressed in a red top and blue pants – a sharp contrast to the yellow saree-clad female players of the Indian contingent – was seen walking next to flag-bearing wrestler Sushil Kumar.

The woman turned out not to be part of the Indian group of athletes.

While it was very late in the night in India when the opening ceremony was telecast on ESPN Star Sports with a second feed on state broadcaster Doordarshan, the 10-second clip of the Indian contingent marching by with the smiling gatecrasher waving to the crowds, hit the headlines here over the weekend.

The mystery woman has now been identified in the media here as Madhura Nagendra, a student from Bangalore who was a dancer in one of the segments of Danny Boyle's opening ceremony.

The media storm she caused is still simmering, with people wondering how such a breach could occur at the Games and Indian officials fuming at the faux pas.

London Olympics organizing committee head Sebastian Coe has also confirmed that the woman “was a cast member” and that “she obviously should not have been there." He added: "She was slightly over-excited.”

The woman's family has also started to speak out in the Indian media.

"My daughter was selected for a performance at the inaugural by Danny Boyle," Madhura's father, K L Nagendra, a leather export entrepreneur, told a newspaper, maintaining that his daughter was not an intruder. "Being an Indian, the organizing committee might have selected Madhura to take the team inside the stadium,” he said but also added that the incident “might have hurt our team's feelings." He added: "I feel very sorry for that.”
 
India has just won its first medal, a bronze in shooting picked up by Gagan Narang, which has brought the Olympics spotlight here back on the players.

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