The first 88-member Indian contingent reached Tokyo on Sunday morning for the Games starting July 23, aiming to make a mark in the Olympics. Players, support staff and officials from eight Indian sports including archery, badminton, table tennis, hockey, judo, gymnastics, swimming and weightlifting arrived in Japan’s capital by special aircraft from New Delhi for the Games being organized amid the COVID-19 pandemic. . The first batch is of 88 members, including 54 players, besides the support staff and representatives of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
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The Indian players were received at the airport by representatives of Kurobe city. He had banners in his hands that read, ‘Kurobe supports Indian players. #Cheers4India.’ Hockey consists of men’s and women’s hockey teams. This is India’s largest team in any one sport. Earlier on Saturday night, Sports Minister Anurag Thakur gave a ceremonial farewell to the Indian contingent at the Indira Gandhi Airport in New Delhi with thunderous applause and greetings.
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There was an unexpected sight at the airport. The red carpet was laid out for the Olympic contingent. There was so much enthusiasm for the departure of the players that the Government of India had made special arrangements to complete the paper formalities of these members. Besides Thakur, Minister of State for Sports Nisith Pramanik, Director General of Sports Authority of India (SAI) Sandeep Pradhan, IOA President Narinder Batra and General Secretary Rajeev Mehta also participated in the farewell ceremony. Some of the Indian players had already reached Tokyo from their practice places abroad.
India’s lone weightlifter Mirabai Chanu arrived in Tokyo on Friday from her training ground in St. Louis, USA. Boxers and shooters have arrived here from their practice sites in Italy and Croatia. India’s 228-member contingent will participate in the Olympics consisting of 119 players. The first four Indian sailors from India were Netra Kumanan and Vishnu Saravanan (Laser Class), KC Ganapathi and Varun Thakkar (49ER Class) to reach Tokyo from their training sites in Europe. He has also started practice on Thursday. Apart from this, the rowing team has also reached Tokyo.