Fact Check: Was Pinky Karmakar India’s flagbearer at 2012 London Olympics?

New Delhi: On Monday (August 9), there was a story on a sports website claiming that India’s flagbearer at the 2012 London Olympics is now working as a daily wage labourer. What is the truth behind this? We will tell you.

News Claim: Insidesport carried an article with the headline “From high of Neeraj Chopra’s Gold, Olympics Shame for India – 2012 Olympic Flag bearer- Pinky Karmakar found working as daily wager in Assam – check out.”

The portal said Pinky Karmakar is India’s former Olympic athlete. It wrote, “While Indians are still intoxicated by Neeraj Chopra’s historic gold medal win at Tokyo Olympics 2020, unhealthy news regarding India’s former Olympic athlete has surfaced up. Pinky Karmakar- India’s ‘torch bearer’ at the London Olympics in 2012 is now toiling as a daily-wage leaf plucker at Borborooah tea estate, earning Rs 167 a day.”

However, the news is fake. Pinky is not an Indian athlete and did not carry the national flag at the London Olympics in 2012. She was one of the torchbearers at the Games. Many shared the story on Twitter without knowing the facts. At the London Olympics, wrestler Sushil Kumar was India's flagbearer.

Olympic torch relay gives an opportunity to ordinary citizens to carry the flame. It is part of the Olympic tradition.

"Thank You Hero: Pinky Karmakar - The Girl Made Us Proud At London Olympics. Meet Pinky Karmakar. This young girl from the Tea community of Assam made her community and country proud when she traveled to the Olympic Torch Relay in June 2012. The London 2012 Olympics of the Legacy Program. The daughter of a tea-plucker...," UNICEF India had written on Facebook in 2012 with an image of Pinky carrying the Olympic torch.

ANI news agency quoted Pinky as saying, “I didn’t get any facilities. I don’t understand why. I was selected by UNICEF. My dreams have been shattered.” ANI had said in a tweet, “Assam | Pinky Karmakar, who represented India as a torchbearer in the 2012 London Olympics, now works as a daily wager at a tea garden in Dibrugarh.”

On Tuesday, ANI said it was deleting that tweet. It wrote, “Inaccurate representation of facts. The below tweet stands deleted. The tweet stands deleted, error regretted.”

Who is a flagbearer at the Olympics?

“The flagbearer for a national delegation is, in some ways, akin to team captain, but it is also much more than that. By carrying their national flag during the Parade of Nations, the flagbearer becomes an enduring symbol of their national values and indeed of Olympic ideals, not to mention an inspiration for future generations. Each delegation decides its own means of designating the flag-bearer’s role,” this is according to the official website of the Olympics.

At the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics 2020, India’s flagbearers at the opening ceremony were men’s hockey team captain Manpreet Singh and boxer MC Mary Kom. Wrestler Bajrang Punia was the flagbearer at the closing ceremony.

About The Author

A. Ramakrishna is an Indian fact-checker and news writer, writing news for Ayupp since 2014.

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