The participation of Indian athletes in the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games will be reduced to a “minimum” in view of the threat of COVID-19, while only six employees of the contingent will be eligible to participate in the event on Friday.
Competitors who have competitions scheduled for the next day will be discouraged from attending the event, the country’s deputy mission chief, Prem Kumar Verma, said on Wednesday.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Secretary-General Rajeev Mehta, who is in the city, said there would not be many people given the risk of infection.
“We will try to have a minimum group. Where are the athletes ko utara jaega. The chef and deputy chef of the mission will decide on the number tomorrow, but we think the minimum should be present to ensure their safety in this crucial period.” Mehta told PTI.
India is represented by over 120 competitors in the Games with a total contingent of 228, including officials, coaches, other support staff and alternate athletes with a view to COVID-19.
“Six employees (from each country) have the right to the ceremony, but there is no limit for athletes. However, we advised athletes who have events the next day to skip the ceremony and focus on their game,” Verma said after a meeting with the boss. de-missions here, but did not specify which Indian officials will be there at the event.
“The ceremony will probably last until midnight, so it is better to rest for the events of the next day,” he added.
Similar to the 10-meter air pistol shooters Saurabh Chaudhary, Abhishek Verma, Apurvi Chandela and Elavenil Valarivan, who have events on the first day of the race, will miss the ceremony along with Manu Bhaker, Yashaswini Singh Deswal, Deepak Kumar and Panyans. on the second day.
The Indian team has eight rifle shooters, five pistols and two shooters, in addition to six coaches and a physiotherapist in Tokyo. Before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, Indian shooters consistently dominated the sport, finishing at the top of the table in four ISSF World Cups in 2019.
Mission chief chef BP Baishya said a call would be taken on Thursday for the number of Indian athletes to take part. The next day after the opening ceremony, boxers, archers and men’s and women’s hockey teams compete.
“Those who do not fight on Saturday will take part in the ceremony,” a boxing source told PTI.
India has named men’s hockey captain Manpreet Singh and six-time world champion female boxer MC MC Kom as flag bearers for the opening ceremony.
While Mary Com is not scheduled to compete the next day, Manpreet will lead the country in the first match of Pool A against New Zealand on Saturday. “Those who are in quarantine are also not allowed,” Verma said of the athletes and staff who recently landed in the Japanese city.
On Wednesday, there were media reports that the UK will have no more than 30 athletes to attend the ceremony due to fears of COVID-19. Britain has 376 players fighting in the games.