Tek Chand carried the tri-colour as India made its way during the Opening Ceremony of Tokyo 2020 Paralympics on Tuesday at the Japan National Stadium.
Tek Chand was India’s flag-bearer at the Tokyo Paralympics opening ceremony after Thangavelu Mariyappan was quarantined following close contact with a COVID-19 positive person on their flight to Tokyo.
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will take place between August 24 and September 5 and will feature 539 medal events across 22 sports. A total of 54 para-athletes from India across nine sports disciplines will be featuring in the Paralympic Games. This is India’s biggest ever contingent to the Games.
Earlier, 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.
In total 4,403 athletes (2,550 male/1,853 female) will compete across 22 sports and 23 disciplines (cycling has two disciplines, track and road). With 4,328 athletes, Rio 2016 held the previous record for the most athletes, this means Tokyo now has the record for most athletes at a Games.
Tokyo 2020 also exceeded Rio 2016 in terms of the number of National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) taking part in the Paralympic Games. A total of 162 delegations, including the Refugee Paralympic Team and five nations, are making their Games debut and will compete across 22 sports. There are 21 nations unable to compete due to several reasons.
Tokyo 2020 beats Rio 2016 by three delegations (159), a remarkable achievement given the challenges of the last 18 months. London 2012 still has the title of most NPCs, with 164 taking part.
Five NPCs – Bhutan, Grenada, Maldives, Paraguay and St Vincent and the Grenadines – will compete for the first time in a Paralympic Games at Tokyo 2020 and all are beneficiaries of the IPC’s NPC Development Programme.