Pak wants players to wear traditional dress at Oly opening

Islamabad: Pakistan wants the country's contingent to the London Olympics to wear the traditional salwar-kameez for the opening ceremony and not the western attire that the organisers have sent.

Pakistan's chef de mission Aqil Shah said he had been in constant touch with the organisers on this issue for the past five days and was not pleased with proceedings, a media report said today.

Flag bearer Abbas of Pakistan leads his country's contingent during the opening ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Reuters

"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 salwar-kameez," Shah told The Express Tribune.

The organisers need to understand that Pakistan's 39-member contingent is in London as the country's ambassadors and should portray its culture and values, he said.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity for these athletes and they should be allowed to show what they are," he added.

Shah said he had briefed the athletes on maintaining discipline at the opening ceremony as he did not want any mishap that could lead to embarrassment.

All the athletes were in good shape and the mood in the camp was "bright" despite media reports about a fake passport scam linked to the country's Olympic team, he said.

"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 said.

Sohail Abbas, a world record holder and Pakistan's hockey team captain, will be the country's flag bearer at the opening ceremony.

PTI