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Rio 2016 gold medalist, Mariyappan Thangavelu was replaced by javelin thrower Tek Chand as India’s flag-bearer for the Paralympics opening ceremony this evening. He came in close contact with a COVID-19 positive person during his flight to Tokyo.
“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 traveling to Tokyo. Instead of Mariyappan now Tek Chand would be the new flag-bearer,” said India’s Chef de Mission Gursharan Singh
Mariyappan Thangavelu has been quarantined along with five other Indians. Also, the Discus thrower Vinod Kumar has withdrawn from the ceremony because of the same reason.
Mariyappan Thangavelu and Vinod Kumar will compete in their events: Gurusharan Singh
“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. They’ll be allowed to practice adhering to strict COVID-19 guidelines,” he added.
Mariyappan won the gold medal in the men’s high jump T-42 category in Rio 2016. He was awarded the Arjuna Award and Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna by the Government of India. India will be sending its largest-ever contingent to the Paralympics. 54 para-athletes – 40 men and 14 women – will participate in 9 different sports events from India.
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