Shooter Abhinav Bindra, the country's first individual gold medallist at the last Olympics, was reportedly the preferred candidate of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) but since his 10m air rifle event is scheduled three days after the opening ceremony on July 30, the shooter wanted to focus on his preparations.
Similarly, boxer Vijender Singh's weigh-in is scheduled for July 28, while Paes has already led the Indian contingent in the 2000 Sydney Games. Thus, the IOA decided that Sushil should do the honours this time.
"I have already been the flag bearer in the opening and closing ceremony. So I think it is really fair and I think that wrestler Sushil Kumar is well deserving of it," Paes was quoted as saying by 'NDTV'.
"Because the Olympics come only once every four years it is only fair that other people also get a chance. I have already won a medal at the Olympics in singles," he added.
Paes, meanwhile, admitted that he was hurt by the entire AITA selection controversy that happened last month.
"Yes I was hurt. Yes, I was very stressed but at the end of the day that is life, isn't it.
"It was hard to go through Wimbledon and play day in and out. What you have to do as a professional athlete is to get away from all the negatives and the politics. I was able to do that well," said Paes.
"I was able to block out everything. It was in the news and on the TV everyday but you got to get away from all that and play hard and despite all that, we got to the finals and lost a really tough match 6-4 in the third set. I know how to play tennis. I know how to win a grand slam and Olympic medals. So I don't concentrate on that stuff." MORE