Madhura regrets gate crashing opening ceremony

An Indian woman who gatecrashed the procession of India’s athletes at the opening of the London Olympic Games has apologised for an “error of judgement” that prompted a wave of criticism on social media sites.

Madhura Nagendra
Madhura Nagendra (encircled) walks beside India’s flagbearer Sushil Kumar during the opening ceremony. PIC/AFP

Madhura Nagendra was the subject of an official protest from India’s Olympic delegation after she appeared, smiling and wearing a red top, walking next to India’s flag-bearer Sushil Kumar at the opening ceremony.

Speaking to an Indian news channel, the 27-year-old, who was one of 7,500 volunteers taking part in the opening ceremony, said: “As an error of judgement, I landed up walking with the athletes,” she said in the interview broadcast yesterday after she returned to her home in the southern city of Bangalore.

“I understand that I’ve hurt people’s feelings. From my heart, I regret it,” she said.

The acting chef-de-mission of India’s Olympic delegation, Muralidharan Raja, said after the ceremony that the mystery gatecrasher had “embarrassed us in front of the world” and “hogged all the limelight”.

The incident provoked a storm of criticism from Indian Twitter users and spawned several Facebook pages, including one comprising photoshopped pictures of her “dropping in” on at iconic events such as US President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

“I actually didn’t know till I came back,” she said of the scale of the public reaction.

“I’m a proud woman of India and I was taken aback seeing all the comments. I hope this will be forgiven,” she added.  

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