Olympic bronze medalist and six-time boxing champion MC Mary Kom and skipper of the men's hockey team Manpreet Singh will be carrying the Indian flag at the opening ceremony of Tokyo Olympics 2020, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has announced. The Opening Ceremony will be staged on July 23 at Tokyo's Olympic stadium.
The Tokyo Olympics 2020 will be Mary Kom's second appearance at the quadrennial games. Mary Kom made her Olympic debut in 2012 at the London Games when female boxing was included in the Summer Games for the first time. The boxer had clinched a bronze medal in London. She failed to qualify for Rio Olympics 2016.
For Manpreeet Singh, Tokyo will be his third appearance at the mega event but it will be the first time he will enter the Games as the captain of the men's hockey team.
Multiple countries will be seen doing something unique at the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony
This is the first time that two athletes will be bearing the Indian tri-color at the opening ceremony of a Summer Olympics.
The decision to announce two flag bearers comes after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced in February that Tokyo Olympics 2020 will promote inclusivity, diversity, and gender equality.
To encourage gender equality, the IOC has for the first time ever allowed and encouraged all 206 NOCs to have their flag carried by one female and one male athlete at the Opening Ceremony in their respective contingents.
Several countries, including Japan, have now announced two flag-bearers for the Opening Ceremony.
For the hosts, basketball player Rui Hachimura and wrestler Yui Susaki will be carrying the flag.
The IOA also announced that Asian Games gold medalist Bajranj Punia will be carrying the Indian flag at the closing ceremony. The closing ceremony is scheduled for August 8 at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.