Tokyo Paralympics: Mariyappan Thangavelu Quarantined, Tek Chand To Be India’s Flagbearer For Opening Ceremony

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Tek Chand (seated first from right) will be India’s flag bearer at the Paralympics opening ceremony.© Paralympic India/Twitter

Javelin thrower Tek Chand will be India’s flag-bearer at the Tokyo Paralympics opening ceremony after Mariyappan Thangavelu was quarantined following close contact with a COVID-19 positive person on his flight to Tokyo. The Paralympic Games is scheduled to be held between August 24 and September 5. Mariyappan, a Rio 2016 Gold medal winner, was the flag bearer for India. However, he and five others of the Indian contingent were quarantined until further notice, as someone near their seats on the flight to Tokyo tested positive for COVID-19.

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“Mariyappan Thangavelu our Flag Bearer, with 5 others, have been quarantined until further notice, as someone near to their seats on their flight to Tokyo tested COVID+! However, none of them have turned +ve since the past 6days! Tek Chand will now be our Flag Bearer. Pls watch!” Deputy Chef de Mission (CDM) Arhan Bagati tweeted a video.

Gursharan Singh, the secretary-general of the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI), informed that as Mariyappan and other athletes have returned regular negative results for COVID-19 they will be allowed to train for their competitions.

“Instead of Mariyappan our athlete Tek Chand will be the flag bearer. However, Mariyappan and Vinod Kumar although have been found in close contact, are found to be COVID negative since last six days while they are in Village,” said Gursharan Singh in the video.

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“They will also be allowed to participate and compete in their respective events. They will also be able to go for the practice, they will have to adhere to strict COVID guidelines which will ensure adhering the same,” he added.

A total of 54 para-athletes from across nine sports disciplines will be featuring in the Paralympic Games. This is India’s biggest ever contingent to Paralympic Games.

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