Olympics: First batch of 88 members of Indian contingent leaves for Tokyo
New Delhi, July 18, 2021
Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur gave a warm send-off to the first batch of 88 members of the Indian contingent for the Tokyo Olympics at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here late last night.
Thakur and Minister of State for Sports Nisith Pramanik told the athletes that 135 crore Indians would be cheering for them.
The first batch of 88 members of the contingent included 54 athletes, support staff, and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) representatives.
The sportspersons included members of the men's and women's hockey teams, world badminton champion P V Sindhu and her teammaters, and the archery, table tennis, judo, gymnastics and weightlifting teams. The two hockey squads formed the largest chunk.
The ceremony was also attended by IOA President Narinder Dhruv Batra and Secretary-General Rajeev Mehta, Sports Authority of India (SAI) Director-General Sandip Pradhan and other dignitaries.
To ensure safety of the players, entry to the send-off ceremony was only allowed for dignitaries and other officials who had a negative COVID test report.
With 127 athletes, the playing contingent for the Tokyo Olympics will be India’s largest ever. The previous high was the 117 who represented the country at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
The shooting, sailing, and rowing reams have already reached Tokyo and some of them have started their practice, too.
The athletes who are reaching Tokyo from India will have to undergo three days of extra quarantine as per a decision by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's health department. Apart from India, athletes from 11 other countries have been shortlisted for the extra quarantine as they have a different variant of the novel coronavirus in their country.
However, Indian athletes will not have to undergo extra quarantine if they reach Tokyo after spending two weeks or more in a country other than the 12 with a COVID-19 variant.