Mariyappan withdrawn as India's Paralympic flag-bearer
(Sourced from PTI)
High-jumper Mariyappan Thangavelu was on Tuesday replaced by javelin thrower Tek Chand as India's flag-bearer for the Paralympics opening ceremony this evening after coming in close contact with a COVID-19 positive person during his flight to Tokyo. Thangavelu has been quarantined along with five other Indians. Discus thrower Vinod Kumar is also among those withdrawn from the ceremony because of the same reason.
"Just now we have received information from the Tokyo Paralympic COVID-19 control room that six of our para-athletes have been found to be in close contact while they were traveling to Tokyo," India's Chef de Mission Gursharan Singh said. "Out of the six, Thangavelu and Kumar have also been found to be in close contact," he added. Now, Chand would be the new flag-bearer.
Singh, however, made it clear that both Thangavelu and Kumar will compete in their events as they have tested negative for the virus so far. "However, both Thangavelu and Kumar have been found to be negative since last six days and they will be able to participate in their respective events and be allowed to practice adhering to strict COVID-19 guidelines," he added.
India's athletics coach Satyanarayana also confirmed the development. Six officials and five para-athletes were expected to take part in the opening ceremony. Besides Thangavelu, the other athletes who were to be part of the event were Kumar, Chand, and power-lifters Jaideep and Sakina Khatun. India will be represented by 54 para-athletes, the biggest ever contingent in the history of the Games.