Table tennis players train at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium in Tokyo on Tuesday, ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. (Yonhap)
TOKYO -- When the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics takes place Friday night, South Korea will only have a modest-size delegation representing the country.
Citing COVID-19 infection concerns, South Korea will have six officials and around 50 athletes marching in at Olympic Stadium in the Japanese capital, an official from the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC) said Wednesday.
South Korea is sending 232 athletes and 122 officials to the competition.
Volleyball star Kim Yeon-koung and teen swimming sensation Hwang Sun-woo will be the co-flag bearers at the opening ceremony, which will not be open to the general public. Only a few invited guests will be able to attend.
Even in normal times, countries rarely have their full delegations at Olympic opening ceremonies. Events are scheduled for the very next day, and those who are competing don't show up for the festivities that can drag well into the night.
South Korea's delegation to Tokyo's ceremony would still have been relatively small without the pandemic, with many of its key athletes going for medals Saturday.
The first full day of action could see South Korean athletes on podiums for the newly-created mixed team event in archery and the men's individual sabre in fencing. Taekwondo gets under way Saturday, starting with the lightest weight divisions for men and women, and South Korea, the birthplace of the martial art, will look to sweep gold medals there. (Yonhap)