Mary Kom and Manpreet Singh led the Indian contingent in Tokyo Games opening ceremony.© AFP
Boxing legend and London Games bronze medallist Mary Kom and men’s hockey team captain Manpreet Singh, India’s flagbearers, led the Indian contingent at the parade of nations during the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony at the National Stadium in the Japanese capital on Friday. 19 Indian athletes and six officials made their way to the Olympic stadium. Men were wearing a bandhgala suit with a traditional motif around the collar while the women wore a gold kurta set with blazers which sported the same motif as that of the men’s bandhgalas. The ceremony was held without spectators due to COVID-19. ‘United by Emotion’ was the theme of the night which opened with a countdown video dating back to the time when Tokyo won the bid to host the Games in 2013 before persevering through a year of postponement due to the pandemic.
Watch the Indian contingent entering the National Stadium in Tokyo
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The ceremony in the 68,000-capacity stadium is taking place before just a few hundred officials and dignitaries, including Japan’s Emperor Naruhito, French President Emmanuel Macron and US First Lady Jill Biden.
The Tokyo 2020 Organisers have put strict virus measures in place, banning overseas fans for the first time ever, and keeping domestic spectators out of all but a handful of venues.
Athletes, support staff and media are subject to strict Covid-19 protocols, including regular testing and daily health checks.
Despite the ceremony being held behind closed doors, there was plenty of enthusiasm outside the Olympic Stadium in the hours before the ceremony, as hundreds of people gathered hoping to soak up the atmosphere and watch the fireworks expected during the extravaganza.
(With inputs from agencies)
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