India Likely To Send 190-Strong Contingent To Tokyo Olympics, Says IOA President Narinder Batra

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The Indian contingent for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics is expected to be around 190, including over 100 athletes, Indian Olympic Organization (IOA) president Narinder Batra said on Thursday as Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju unveiled the official kits for the country’s participants. So far, 100 athletes have qualified for the Tokyo Games, including 56 men and 44 women. The Indian Olympic Organization (IOA) expects another 25 to 35 to make the cut for the Games, which open on July 23.

“…we are estimating to touch 125 to 135 (qualified athletes) by the next two to three weeks when the qualification process is over,” Batra said right through the online ceremony.

“This means the Indian contingent, including officials and fortify staff, is likely to be around 190,” he added.

The number of officials cannot be more than one-third of the athlete group as per the Sports Ministry rules. The ministry can, on the other hand, allow extra officials for free of charge to the government.

Batra also reiterated that India’s medal haul can touch the double-digit mark in Tokyo, which will be an unprecedented achievement.

The IOA chief said that the entire athletes who have qualified for the Olympics have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine with the exception of for a couple of who have recently contracted the virus.

He requested Rijiju to be sure that the entire Indian athletes are fully vaccinated before they head to Tokyo.

“The IOC will issue a Playbook (latest version) this month but there will be only minor changes (from earlier version). We need to follow the entire health and safety protocols in view of the pandemic.”

Unveiling the official kits of the Indian contingent, Rijiju said the whole country is at the back of the athletes.

“Olympics is the platform where the most efficient on the earth will compete. I am hoping our athletes will make their best effort and make the country proud by winning medals,” he said.

“Today, the Prime Minister took a review of the country’s preparation for the Olympics and assured the participating athletes that all the country is at the back of them,” he added.

He said his ministry has given a wide variety of fortify — financial and logistical — to the athletes amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The official kits are sponsored by Li Ning while the official ceremonial kits are sponsored by Raymonds.

IOA Secretary General Rajiv Mehta said that four sets of official kits will be provided to each and every athlete and more than 100 kits have been kept aside as contingency.

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“We have received the health protocols the athletes have to follow. There will be double testing of athletes before departure. These kinds of things, we can work out with the chef-de-mission and his deputy,” Mehta said.

Six Olympic-bound athletes, including Neeraj Chopra, Bajrang Punia, Ravi Dahiya, Sumit Malik and Seema Bisla, were present. Chef de Mission of the Indian contingent BP Baishya and his deputy Prem Chand Verma were also present. 

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