In high spirits and focus on their goals, the first batch of India's 88-strong Olympic-bound contingent reached Tokyo on July 18 morning to participate in the COVID-hit Tokyo Games, beginning on July 23.
Amid gloom surrounding the Games because of the pandemic, athletes and officials from eight disciplines of archery, badminton, table tennis, hockey, judo, gymnastics, swimming and weightlifting landed in the Japanese capital from New Delhi in a chartered Air India flight.
The contingent comprised 54 athletes, besides support staff and IOA representatives.
On July 17 night, Sports Minister Anurag Thakur gave a formal send-off to the contingent at the Indira Gandhi Airport in New Delhi amid loud cheers, claps and plenty of good wishes.
The IGI witnessed unprecedented scenes as a red carpet was laid out for the Olympic-bound contingent. Such was the euphoria surrounding the send-off that the Government of India had arranged for an Olympic Contingent Clearance immigration line for the Tokyo-bound members.
Besides Thakur, the send-off ceremony was attended by Minister of State for Sports, Nisith Pramanik, Sports Authority of India Director General Sandip Pradhan and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) officials, including President Narinder Batra and Secretary General Rajeev Mehta.
Some of the Indian athletes have already reached Tokyo from their respective training bases abroad.
READ: Athlete COVID-19 infections rise in Tokyo ahead of Games
READ: Japan's Olympic security balancing act leaves few satisfied
India’s lone weightlifter in the fray, Mirabai Chanu reached Tokyo on Friday from her training base in St. Louis, USA.
The boxers and shooters have also reached from their respective training bases in Italy and Croatia.
India will be represented by a 228-strong contingent, including 119 athletes, at the Tokyo Olympics, which will be held under strict health protocols and without spectators in the wake of the raging pandemic.
Four Indian sailors — Nethra Kumanan and Vishnu Saravanan (laser class), KC Ganapathy and Varun Thakkar (49er class) — were the first from the country to reach Tokyo from their training bases in Europe. They started training on Thursday.
Besides, the rowing team has also reached Tokyo.
Latest on Sportstar
- French Open: Haddad Maia takes positives from best Grand Slam run
- Rory McIlroy will be ‘happier’ focusing on golf vs ‘board room’
- Over one million tickets sold for Women’s World Cup: FIFA
- Singapore Open: Srikanth, Priyanshu and Arjun-Dhruv make 2nd round exit to mark end of Indian campaign
- WTC Final: On day two, we planned to bowl only bouncers to Head, says Siraj