SYDNEY – Australia will bring 472 athletes to the Tokyo Olympics, announced Monday the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), the country’s second-largest team for the Overseas Summer Games.
Some of the 254 women and 218 men who will compete in 33 sports are already in Japan making their final preparations for the Games, which were postponed for a year due to the global health crisis.
The new coronavirus has severely disrupted the ranking and Australia’s contingent of travelers, second in size only after the 482 who went to Athens in 2004, could have been larger were it not for opportunities negated by the COVID-19 pandemic. .
“I would like to pay tribute to those athletes for whom postponement and the global environment have prevented them from being a part of this team,” said Mission Chef Ian Chesterman.
“Whether it’s due to injury and retirement, lack of safe access to qualifying events, or difficult personal circumstances, many have been forced to make that difficult decision.
“I can promise these athletes that this team carries their legacy and contributions in their hearts to Tokyo and into the heat of Olympic competition.”
While only 51 indigenous Australians have represented the country in the previous 28 Summer Games, world tennis number one Ash Barty leads a record 16 Aboriginal athletes on the Tokyo team.
Mary Hanna, 66, will become Australia’s oldest Olympic competitor, while her partner, equestrian athlete Andrew Hoy, will compete in an eighth national record at age 62.
Swimmer Mollie O’Callaghan, 17, is the youngest member of the group and one of 294 Australians to make their Olympic debut in Tokyo.
The softball team arrived in Japan on June 1 to play warm-ups against local professional teams and will be the first Australian athletes to compete in the Games when they face hosts Japan on July 21, two days before the opening ceremony.
In a sign of the times, Australians will send 75,000 disposable masks and 544 bottles of hand sanitizer to Japan for use by their delegation, which totals 990 people including officials and coaches.
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