Only a few Indian athletes to take part in Olympic opening ceremony: IOA
The Indian Olympic contingent at the opening ceremony of the 2012 edition in London. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
THE participation of Indian athletes in the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics will be kept to a “bare minimum” in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. Besides, only six officials from the contingent would take part in the event on Friday (23).
India’s deputy chef de mission Prem Kumar Verma said on Wednesday (21) that those athletes having competitions lined up the next day will be discouraged to take part in the event.
In New Delhi, Indian Olympic Association general secretary Rajeev Mehta said not many will be there keeping in mind the Covid-19 infection.
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“We will try to have a bare minimum group out there. Kam se kam athletes ko utara jaega (we will ask a minimum number of athletes to take part). The chef de mission and the deputy chef de mission will decide on the numbers tomorrow but our view is that the bare minimum should attend to ensure their safety in this crucial period,” Mehta said.
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India sent 120 athletes in the Games with its overall contingent size being 228, including officials, coaches and other staff members.
“Six officials (from every country) are allowed at the ceremony but there is no cap on athletes. However, we have advised the athletes who have events the next day to skip the ceremony and focus on their game,” Verma said after a meeting of the chef-de-missions here but did not specify which officials from India will be there at the event.
“The ceremony is likely to last till midnight so it is better that they rest for their events the following day,” he added.
The likes of 10-metre air pistol shooters Saurabh Chaudhary, Abhishek Verma, Apurvi Chandela and Elavenil Valarivan, who have events on the first competition day, will not join the opening ceremony along with Manu Bhaker, Yashaswini Singh Deswal, Deepak Kumar and Divyansh Singh Panwar who will be shooting on the second day.
Boxers, archers and the men’s and women’s hockey teams are also scheduled to compete on the day after the opening ceremony.
India’s men’s hockey captain Manpreet Singh and six-time world champion woman boxer Mary Kom will be the country’s flag-bearers for the opening ceremony. While Kom, who won a medal in 2012 London Games, is not scheduled to compete the next day, Singh will lead his country in the opening game of Pool A against New Zealand.