NEW DELHI, Jul 23
Boxing great MC Mary Kom and Indian men's hockey team captain Manpreet Singh led the Indian contingent out as they marched through Tokyo's National Stadium during the opening ceremony of the 2020 Olympics. The number of athletes who walked out for India was reduced to 19 due to Covid-19 restrictions. The athletes were clad in blazers with the name of the country on it. All the members of the contingent waved small Indian flags themselves in addition to Mary and Manpreet carrying the Indian flag up front. Manpreet was the only hockey player in the contingent as athletes were kept down to a minimum in the parade.
Mary, on the other hand, was accompanied by fellow boxers Lovlina Borgohain, Pooja Rani, Amit Panghal, Manish Kaushik, Ashish Kumar and Satish Kumar.
Athletes from sports like shooting, badminton, archery and hockey, skipped the ceremony as the Indian delegation is not willing to expose them to the risk of contracting the virus with their events lined up on Saturday.
Table tennis duo Manika Batra and Sharath Kamal were named on the list last night, but they have decided not to be part of the opening ceremony with their mixed doubles match scheduled on July 24 at 12.30 pm. However, tennis star Ankita Raina was added to the list at the last moment making it 19 athletes and 6 officials.
The six officials who were present were India’s Chef de Mission Birender Prasad Baishya, Deputy Chef de Mission Dr Prem Verma, Team doctor Dr Arun Basil Mathew, manager of table tennis team MP Singh, boxing coach Muhammad Ali Qamar and gymnastics coach Lakhan Sharma.