Sorry but no saree: Indian women to walk out in blazers and suit at 2018 Commonwealth Games

India’s women athletes at the 2018 Commonwealth Games will be ‘sporting’ blazers and trousers rather than the traditional saree for the opening ceremony.Images released by Raymond, ‘The Official Styling Partner’ of the Indian contingent for the 2018 Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast, Australia starting April 4, 2018.The attire sponsored by the company will include Suits (Blazers + Trousers); Shirts, Paisley Jacquard Ties & pocket squares for Men; whereas Women would be seen sporting crisp white shirt with well fitted blazers and slim pants.The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on February 20 decided to replace the saree with blazers and trousers as the ceremonial dress for female athletes, a move which the governing body claimed, was dictated by the feedback received.While some like Olympic silver-medallist shuttler PV Sindhu, Olympic bronze-medallist wrestler Sakshi Malik and shuttler Jwala Gutta are against the decision to break away from tradition, others are happy that comfort has won over convention. This will be the look for India’s CWG 2018 contingent (Left: Men; Right: Women) (Photo courtesy: Raymonds)Among them is 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games air rifle gold-medallist, Apurvi Chandela, who feels blazers and trousers will come across as graceful as the traditional saree.”I respect and honour the decision of the IOA. Like saree, even blazer and trouser would also look graceful. So we are happy about it and looking forward to the Games,” the 25-year-old experienced shooter, who has been named in the Indian shooting team for the Games in Gold Coast in April, told PTI.2016 Rio Olympian race walker Khushbir Kaur went to the extent of saying that the move is another step towards achieving gender equality.advertisement”I feel the ceremonial dress for both men and women should be the same. Why should women wear differently? I welcome the move,” said Khushbir, who is also bound for April 4-15 Gold Coast CWG.”I wear blazer and trouser quite often. It is easy to wear during a march past. I don’t know how to wear a saree and it is uncomfortable to drape it. I would love to wear a blazer,” said the 24-year-old Punjab athlete who has taken part in one Olympics, one CWG and one Asian Games.Asked about the traditional value of the saree, she said, “Looking from the point of view of comfort, I would definitely love to wear a blazer more than a saree.”Teen pistol sensation Manu Bhaker said: “I am more comfortable in blazer and trouser. I don’t prefer wearing suit or salwar or saree. It’s good for me and it will certainly look nice. I am excited to wear the new dress at the Games ceremonies.”Another promising rifle shooter, 17-year-old Mehuli Ghosh, is upbeatabout wearing a blazer and trouser during the opening ceremony of the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Australia.”I feel saree looks amazing, our athletes have always worn saree in the past as part of tradition and culture. But the world has changed now and things can be a little easy.”Keeping that in mind, I think this move can be looked in a very positive manner. And personally speaking, I don’t wear saree, and I think I will look pretty good in blazer, shirt and trouser,” she said.Mirabai Chanu, who recently became the first Indian weightlifter to win a gold in the World Championships, however, feels that saree has a distinctive traditional value and should have been retained.”In multi-sporting events like the Olympics, or the Asian or the Commonwealth Games, most of the countries wear their distinctive traditional dresses and for me, I would have loved to wear a saree rather than a trouser,” said the 48kg category lifter.”I am not used to wearing a saree and I have not participated in any opening ceromony in 2016 Rio Olympics, 2014 Asian Games and Commonwealth Games as my event falls the next day each time.”But I would prefer a saree than a blazer as saree is our traditional attire. I feel showcasing our tradition in these big international events is important,” said the 23-year-old Manipuri lifter.For legendary long jumper Anju Bobby George, her experience of wearing a saree in many multi-sporting events, including two Olympics, has been forgettable.”During the 2004 Olympics, I was the captain of the Indian contingent and walking with the flag wearing a saree. It was a difficult task and at every step, I thought I would fall down. It was visible, my face was too stiff. I even forgot to wave my hands because of this tension,” she said.