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Olympic team finalised with 25 BOP representatives

Tauranga's Peter Burling is one of the leading lights in the NZ Olympic team.. Photo. File. Richard Hodder/Emirates Team NZ

New Zealand’s largest-ever Olympic Team has been assembled for the Tokyo Olympic Games, with a quarter of a century of the representatives from the Bay of Plenty has been finalised.

The 211-strong team will be made up of 101 females and 110 males with athletes set to compete in more than 700 competition sessions across 22 sports, including the new Olympic disciplines of karate and surfing.

It will be New Zealand’s largest-ever number of female Olympians, narrowly eclipsing the 100 females who competed at Rio 2016 whilst 33 of the 211 New Zealand athletes are of Māori descent.

Auckland has produced the largest percentage of the Tokyo Olympians with 52 of the team hailing from the region but the Bay of Plenty comes in second with 25 athletes.

For the first time ever, both a male and female athlete will carry the flag for New Zealand at the Opening Ceremony. Black Ferns Sevens Captain Sarah Hirini and two-time Olympic champion Hamish Bond will have the honour of leading the team into the Olympic stadium.

Of the athletes, 118 will be first time Olympians, while the other 93 have already been to one or more Games. Dame Valerie Adams will create history, becoming the second ever New Zealand female to attend five Olympic Games. The full list of New Zealand Team athletes can be viewed here.

 NZOC chef de mission Rob Waddell paid tribute to the athlete’s perseverance.

“This Olympic buildup has been extremely challenging and unique,” says Waddell.

“I’d like to thank all 211 athletes for the grit and determination they’ve shown to make it to these postponed Games. We’re extremely proud of the team and the way they’ve handled all the uncertainty.

“It’s now time to focus on wearing the fern and representing New Zealand to the best of our abilities in Tokyo.”

Waddell and the advance team arrived in Tokyo late last week and began setting up the New Zealand Team area in the Olympic Village.

“We’re working really hard to create a strong performance environment in our section of the village which allows the athletes to perform to their peak.

“We’re setting up our own high-performance gym, kitchen and health areas. We also have two shipping containers to offload which contain things like sporting equipment, hand sanitiser and cooling fans.”

New Zealand athletes have begun arriving into Japan with football and canoe slalom the first on the ground.

The first athletes into the village will be the women’s football team, arriving on July 17.

They will also be the first athletes in action, taking on trans-Tasman rivals Australia on July 21.

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