Indian high-jumper Mariyappan Thangavelu will no longer be the contingent's flag-bearer at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Paralympics. He was in close contact with a COVID-19 positive person during his flight to Tokyo. Thangavelu will be replaced by javelin thrower Tek Chand.
The Tokyo Paralympics opening ceremony will be held on Tuesday, starting at 4:30 PM IST. India has sent as many as 54 athletes competing in nine sports for the multi-sport international tournament.
Rio gold medallist Mariyappan and discus thrower Vinod Kumar are amongst the six Indian athletes who have been quarantined and have been withdrawn from the ceremony.
"Just now we have received an 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 Kumar 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 in the opening ceremony.
"Instead of Mariyappan now Tek Chand would be the new flag-bearer," he added.
However, the athletes will still be participating in their respective events as they have tested negative for the virus so far.
"However, both Mariyappan and Vinod 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 guidelines," he added.
Besides Mariyappan, the other athletes who were to be part of he event were were Vinod, Tek Chand and power-lifters Jaideep and Sakina Khatun.
The Tokyo Paralympics opening ceremony can be watched on Doordarshan which will broadcast the Indian events at the Tokyo Paralympics 2020. The live streaming of the event can be seen on eurosportplayer.com and paralympic.org