The participation of Indian athletes in the opening ceremony of the Olympics will be the bare minimum: IOA

The participation of Indian athletes in the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games will be reduced to the “strict minimum” given the threat of COVID-19, while only six officials from the contingent will be allowed to participate in the event on Friday.

Athletes who have scheduled competitions the next day will be discouraged from attending the event, the country’s deputy chef de mission, Prem Kumar Verma, told PTI on Wednesday.

Indian Olympic Association (IOA) general secretary Rajeev Mehta, who is in the city, said few people would be there given the risk of infection.

“We will try to have a minimum group there. Kam came ko utara jaega athletes. The HOM and Deputy HOM will decide the numbers tomorrow, but we believe the bare minimum should be present to ensure their safety in this crucial time, ”Mehta told PTI.

India is represented by more than 120 athletes at the Games, with the overall contingent size of 228, including officials, coaches, other support staff and alternate athletes given COVID-19.

“Six officials (from each country) are allowed at the ceremony but there is no limit for athletes. However, we have advised athletes who have events the next day to skip the ceremony and focus on their game. “Verma said after a meeting. heads of mission here, but did not specify which Indian officials will be present at the event.

“The ceremony is expected to last until midnight, so it is best that they rest for their events the next day,” he added.

10m air pistol shooters Saurabh Chaudhary, Abhishek Verma, Apurvi Chandela and Elavenil Valarivan, who have events on the first day of competition, will skip the ceremony with Manu Bhaker, Yashaswini Singh Deswal, Deepak Kumar and Divyansh Singh Panwar will shoot the second day.

The Indian team has eight rifles, five pistols and two skeet shooters, in addition to six coaches and a physiotherapist in Tokyo.

Before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, Indian shooters consistently dominated the sport, finishing first at four ISSF World Cups in 2019.

Head of Mission BP Baishya said an appeal on the number of Indian athletes who will participate will be taken on Thursday.

Boxers, archers, and men’s and women’s hockey teams are also scheduled to compete the day after the Opening Ceremony.

“Those who did not fight on Saturday will take part in the ceremony,” a source from the boxing contingent told PTI.

India have named men’s hockey captain Manpreet Singh and six-time world champion MC boxer Mary Kom as the flag bearer for the opening ceremony.

Although Mary Kom is not scheduled for the next day, Manpreet will lead in the Pool A opener against New Zealand on Saturday.

“Those in quarantine are also not allowed,” Verma said of the athletes and officials, who recently disembarked in the Japanese city.

Media reported on Wednesday that Britain would not have more than 30 athletes participating in the ceremony due to COVID-19 fears. Britain has 376 athletes competing at the Games.

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