India at the Paralympics | Sport

Mariyappan withdrawn as India's Paralympic flag-bearer after coming in contact with a COVID positive person

High-jumper Mariyappan Thangavelu. File   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

High-jumper Mariyappan Thangavelu was replaced by javelin thrower Tek Chand as India's flag-bearer for the Paralympics opening ceremony on August 24 after he came in close contact with a COVID positive person during his flight to Tokyo.

Mariyappan Thangavelu, a gold-medallist from Rio Olympics, 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 Discus thrower Vinod Kumar is also among those withdrawn from the ceremony because of the same reason.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 control room that 6 of our para athletes have been found to be in close contact while they were travelling to Tokyo," India's Chef de Mission Gursharan Singh said. "Out of the six, Mariyappan and Vinod have also been found to be in close contact. Regretfully, Mariyappan who was the flag-bearer will not be able to join the march past today [August 24] in the opening ceremony. Instead of Mariyappan now Tek Chand would be the new flag-bearer," he added.

Mr. Singh, however, made it clear that both Mariyappan Thangavelu and Vinod Kumar will compete in their events as they have tested negative for the virus so far. "However, both Mariyappan and Vinod 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 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 Mariyappan Thangavelu, the other athletes who were to be part of he event were were Vinod Kumar, Tek 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.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 4:02:35 AM |

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